A drop spreader is one of the most important gardening and landscaping equipment that you should own. A spreader is a machine used to spread seeds, soils, fertilizer, and other material that you want to apply to your garden. It helps to control the number of items spread on your garden and this ensures that the lawn is well nourished.
A drop spreader serves its purpose quite well when used the right way. It works just like its name suggest. As you push it along, fertilizer or seed are dropped to the garden through holes in the bottom side of the hopper. To achieve this, you need to have the best drop spreader.
Table of Contents
- 1 Top 3 Drop Spreader Models Reviews
- 2 Our Pick of the Best Drop Spreader
- 3 Factors to Consider When Buying a Drop Spreader
- 4 Drop Spreaders vs. Broadcast Spreaders
- 5 How to Calibrate a Drop Spreader
- 6 FAQs About Drop Spreaders
- 7 The Bottom Line
Top 3 Drop Spreader Models Reviews
Here is a review of the top drop spreaders on the market today:
1. Scotts Turf Builder Classic Drop Spreader
The first spreader on our review is the Scotts Turf Builder Classic Drop Spreader. This has been a regular in the lawns for over a decade, and it will continue to be for long.
Type: Push drop spreader
Perfect for: Medium sized lawns
Spreader width: 22 Inches
Weight: 12.55 lbs
Max coverage: Up to 10,000 sq. ft. per load
This spreader is perfect for users with a garden that is at least 5,000 sq. ft. and an area that requires precise seed or fertilizer application. It offers a much even application but to achieve this you need to do more pass to apply the area effectively because it only offers 22 inches of application.
The machine is made of heavy-duty materials and will offer you decades of service without needing to hit the market in the near future. Its frame is quite sturdy and will survive any punishment that comes along.
It comes fully assembled ready for action, and although its’ calibration is way off, you can easily re-calibrate them to your desired setting. The spreader is perfect for fertilizer spreading as well as other materials.
- Cost effective
- Easy to use
- Well-built and sturdy
- Calibrations are off
2. Agri-Fab 45-0288 175-Pound Max Tow Behind Drop Spreader
Now we move to the big toy for big girls or boys and I really love the Agri-Fab 45-0288 175-Pound Tow Behind Drop Spreader. It can hold about 175 lbs. of material and it does an effective job of spreading.
Type: Tow behind drop spreader
Perfect for: Ride on mower users and large lawns
Spreader width: 42 inches
Weight: 46 lbs
Max coverage: Up to 40,000 sq. ft. per load
The sheer sturdiness of this spreader is astonishing – it feels like you can drop this machine over a cliff and still work after hitting stones. Its poly hopper is strong, and the metal frame will last for decades.
The spreader comes with pneumatic tires which also happen to be tough and offer the much-needed difference when towing the beast behind – it simply glides over most dips and bumps. The adjustment level is amazingly straightforward, even a child can easily use it.
One thing I thought I should mention is that its agitator blades are thin, and depending on the material you want to spread, you might run into some problems. This might look like a shortcoming but it good you understand that the spreader was made for grass seed.
- Very tough
- Pneumatic tires are superb
- Super large hopper
- Agitator blades are somehow flimsy
3. Precision Products 75 Pounds DS4500RDGY Capacity Deluxe Step-Up Drop Spreader
The last, but not least, spreader on our list is the Precision Products 75 Pounds Capacity Deluxe DS4500RDGY Drop Spreader. Precision Products has been in business for decades and offers high-quality lawn apparatus at an affordable price.
Type: Push drop spreader
Perfect for: Small lawns
Spreader width: 22 inches
Weight: 9.8 pounds
Max coverage: up to 10,000 sq. ft. per load
This is a straightforward product that is simple to use and easy to carry from one point to another. Its price is one of the best you will be offered out there, and considering its quality, you get value for money. The machine comes with a poly hopper that holds up to 75 pounds of fertilizer or seeds and features durable 12 inches plastic poly wheels that are rust-free.
The product is rigged with a simple mechanism, which is ideal for users who simply want to get their lawn job done with minimal maintenance of the spreader. It evenly scatters fertilizer, seed, and other granular elements without going overboard, eliminating clean-up needs after every spreading season.
- Very affordable
- Even scattering without going overboard
- Durable hopper
- Tires aren’t suitable for rough terrains
Our Pick of the Best Drop Spreader
We can recommend Scotts Turf Builder Classic Drop Spreader as the best unit from our review since it has most of the features that a drop spreader should have. These include heavy-duty materials, sturdy frame, spreads a variety of items, and ability to re-calibrate.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Drop Spreader
Before reviewing the top three drop spreader on the market today, let’s first go through what qualities make up a great spreader. We will use these criteria to determine the best spreader in our review of the top spreaders.
But you might be asking yourself, “What the need of looking at these attributes?” This is to ensure that you have all the information you require to make an informed decision when searching the market offline or online for a drop spreader.
This is straightforward. Your drop spreader should perform well, especially on your lawn. It is a great idea to choose a heavy-duty spreader that is resistant to extreme weather conditions and resistant to corrosion such as a unit made of durable plastic or stainless steel material. This will ensure that your unit last-long.
Corrosion, harsh weather, and rust are one of the most common things that affect the performance of a spreader.
Variety of Applications
The primary application of a spreader is to scatter fertilizer and seeds evenly across your garden, but for extra efficiency, your spreader shouldn’t be limited to only these two uses. The best model can also be used to remove and prevent ice from pavements, driveways, and sidewalks during winter seasons.
Additionally, you can use these machines to spread granular material, which enhances the greenness of your lawn and keep weeds away. Their hoppers should also hold sand for other construction and landscaping purposes.
Durability is a critical component of a top spreader, but how can you really know whether your unit will last long? The answer is simple: look at the material used to construct the spreader. For one, the axle and wheels should be constructed of heavy-duty rust-free materials that are also suitable for your terrain.
Price will vary depending on the materials the spreader is made from, its design, the controls, the quality of the wheels, and where you buy it.
The controls and the material used to set the settings will determine how much movement you will get on the accuracy. If it is easy to re-calibrate these settings you will always feel happy with your machine and how it applies the produce on your lawn.
Drop Spreaders vs. Broadcast Spreaders
Drop spreaders and broadcast spreaders basically do the same job but they are different machines.
A drop spreader spreads fertilizer or seed in even rows, and these models are famous for their pinpoint spreading or accuracy. The items fall only where you want them to fall. The scattering pattern of these units only extends to the length of the wheels, which means that you need to overlap your path every time you cross your lawn.
The majority of manufacturers recommend you set your spreader at about 50 percent and spread your fertilizer or seed in a crosshatch manner. This will ensure even coverage and prevent stripping.
You should know the following things about drop spreaders:
- They work well in areas that are about 5,000 sq. ft. in size
- They offer efficient coverage control and are easy to operate
- They have a wide wheel bottom that makes them easy to move over and around obstacles as well as tight areas
- The wind doesn’t affect their performance
- Because they distribute the product in “swaths”, you don’t need to clean anything near or on sidewalks or driveways
The major con of choosing drop spreaders is that they usually cover less surface with every pass than broadcast spreaders, which increase the number of passes you need to make and the time required to complete the chore. However, due to their precision, we can without a doubt say that the tradeoff reasonable.
Broadcast spreaders are called broadcast because they spread your fertilizer or seed in a fanlike manner over huge tracks of lawns. The size of their scatter depends on your speed and the size of spreaders’ holes. The distribution becomes thinner as the seeds are broadcast further and further from the machine.
See more Broadcast Spreaders here
Therefore, you need to ensure that your passes across your lawn overlap to get an even spreading. Just like the drop spreader, the manufacturers recommend that you set these units at 50 percent and spread your fertilizer or seed in a crosshatch manner.
There are things that you should know about these types of spreaders:
- They usually cover more surface within a short time
- They are perfect for large lawns and wide areas
- Their hopper capacity is bigger than those of drop spreaders
The major issue with broadcast spreaders is that they often spread the product out of bounds, which leads to wastage and need for cleaning.
How to Calibrate a Drop Spreader
You should calibrate your spreader every year to guarantee accurate usage. In most cases, these spreaders come set to ensure that you don’t get hard time calibrating. As your spreader gets older, these calibrations get out of order and your machine doesn’t apply the right amount of fertilizer or seeds anymore.
If this is your situation, you need to re-calibrate your drop spreader. Follow these steps:
- Make a box-shaped or V-shaped trough out of a piece of an aluminum gutter or heavy cardboard
- Attach the trough under the output section of your drop spreader to catch the product as it spread out. Use a baling wire to attach it
- Set your spreader at the manufacturer’s recommended number, put seed or fertilizer into your spreader, and push the machine over a 100 sq. ft. area
To cover 100 sq. ft., if your drop spreader is:
- 1½ ft. wide, move forward 66.6 ft
- 2 ft. wide, move forward 50 ft
- 3 ft. wide, move forward 33. 3 ft
Pour the seed or fertilizer that fell into the gutter or trough, weight it, and then multiply the figure by 10. This will give you the amount of seed or fertilizer that you would need to apply for 1,000 sq. ft.
Most products are given on a 1,000 sq. ft. basis. In case you applied too little or too much, adjust the setting appropriately.
FAQs About Drop Spreaders
Q: Do drop spreaders have an advantage over broadcast spreaders? Do they have any disadvantage?
A: A drop spreader enables precise spreading along flower beds which is not possible with a broadcast spreader. The con of these units is that they take longer to complete the job when compared with a broadcast spreader.
Q: How do I maintain my drop spreader?
A: Here is the process:
- After every use, empty all remains into their original packaging.
- Clean your spreader over your lawn to remove all the remains that might be clinging around, especially near the axle
- You might require hot water to clean any stubborn remain
- Leave your spreader to dry for a while before you take it to your store.
- Oil the axle bushings frequently using a light lubricant, preferably spray. Avoid heavy grease or oils since they might attract dirt, which leads to wear
The Bottom Line
With the dozens of features and controls included in drop spreaders, it can be difficult to answer the question of, “What is the best drop spreader on the market? Luckily, having a clear mind of these products will help you when choosing the best unit for your lawn. Know the features and qualities that you should consider when making a decision and your purchase will be smooth.