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Best Broadcast Spreaders of 2020

Best Broadcast Spreader Reviews of 2020

Best-in-class
Earthway 2150

Earthway 2150 Commercial 50-Pound Walk-Behind Broadcast Spreader

Commercial-grade performance

Drop shut-off system ensures an even spread pattern for accurate multiple applications.

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1 Earthway 2150 Review

Standing out as the best broadcast spreader around, the Earthway 2150 is a no-nonsense, no-mess, totally fuss-free piece of gardening equipment. It withstands whatever the day is throwing at it, from spreading seeds to fertilizing a lawn, and even spreading salt on ice or snow.

Ideal for big jobs, it boasts a 175-lb capacity poly hopper and heavy-duty, epoxy powder coated chassis. It’s intuitively designed to only direct and spread the product where is needed, and thanks to its “Ev-N-Spred” technology, it’s perfect for mid-summer fertilizing of mid-sized to big gardens.

It has a walk-behind design, but it’s really easy to maneuver, and we also like the 2-position, height-adjustable handle. Strong, durable, and ready for heavy-duty jobs, this is undeniably the best broadcast spreader to get your hands on.

Best value
Agri-Fab 45-0462

Agri-Fab 45-0462 Push Broadcast Spreader

Perfect for most homes

Heavy-duty grade construction blends with unrivaled maneuverability and ease of use.

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2 Agri-Fab 45-0462 Review

The Agri-Fab 45-0462 is an impressive broadcast spreader that appeals to homeowners. It’s as heavy-duty and boasts the same walk-behind design as our top pick, but has a slightly lower capacity, of only 130 lbs. – just perfect for gardens and lawns up to ½ acres.

We like its large, pneumatic tires that make it easy to use in all seasons. From seeding in spring to fertilizing in summer to applying ice melt as necessary, this push broadcast spreader is up to anything.

Flow is also easy to control thanks to the convenient steel rod you can seamlessly open or close. Depending on the speed of application and material, this tool can help you maintain a beautiful lawn in no time. All at a price point that won’t break the bank.

Also great
Chapin 8620B

Chapin 8620B 150 Pound Tow Behind Spreader

Best tow behind broadcast spreader

An outstanding broadcast spreader for heavy-duty residential and commercial applications.

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3 Chapin 8620B Review

Do you have a really big lawn? Are you looking for a tow-behind rather than a push tool? Then check out the Chapin 8620B.

This tow behind broadcast spreader is perfect for lawns of ½ acres or more. Ideal to use with a zero turn mower or lawn tractor, it can help you both mow the lawn and spread seeds or fertilizer in early and mid-season.

Standing out as an all-round piece of gardening equipment, the Chapin is also easy to transform into a salt spreader come winter. All this is possible thanks to its heavy-duty construction, all-terrain 14-inch pneumatic tires, and 150-lb hopper.

Easy-to-set gate adjustments with 11 incremental settings also guarantee the accuracy of all applications. It costs a bit more than our top picks, but after all, it’s fuss-free to use and appeals to both homeowners and professionals landscapers.

Best budget
Scotts EdgeGuard DLX

Scotts Turf Builder EdgeGuard DLX Broadcast Spreader

Best for small to mid-sized lawns

Small yet mighty, this walk-behind spreader is perfect for homeowners on a budget.

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4 Scotts EdgeGuard DLX Review

The EdgeGuard DLX 76232 from Scotts is proof that not all lawn tools have eye-watering prices. It’s smaller than our other picks, but just what you need for smaller lawns and gardens of up to ¼ acres.

But don’t just assume that it’s a simple piece of equipment just because it comes cheap. This deluxe spreader is packed with features.

We particularly like the brand’s proprietary Edge Guard. The spreader not only provides uniform coverage, but it also prevents the product from spreading to non-lawn areas by blocking off the flow on the right side.

Delivered calibrated and ready to use, it also impresses with its precision rate settings with convenient rate-setting knob. Ideal for everything from spreading seeds or fertilizer to distributing ice melt on driveways and walkways, this is undoubtedly the best fertilizer spreader for anyone on a budget.

What is a broadcast spreader?

A broadcast spreader is a type of seed spreader designed to scatter seeds or other granular materials, including fertilizer, lime, ice melt, sand, and so on. An alternative to the drop spreader, this type of machine speeds up the spreading process and is particularly handy if you have a larger swath of lawn or soil area to take care of.

What is the difference between a broadcast vs. drop spreader?

If you’re not a professional landscaper, figuring out which is the main difference between the various types of spreaders is sometimes confusing. To shed some light on the matter, the main difference between a broadcast and a drop spreader is the way the tool spreads the material.

  • Drop spreaders are designed for precision applications. As their name suggests, they drop the product between their wheels at a precise point. Enhanced application control makes this type of spreader ideal for targeted applications, such as seeding vegetables or fertilizing a smaller lot, for example. However, the application is usually laborious and slow.
  • Contrary to the drop spreaders, broadcast spreaders are not designed for targeted application, but they allow for a quick covering of large surfaces. These machines scatter the material to the front and sides of the spreader in an arc pattern. They are perfect for quick grass seeding, lawn fertilizing, as well as spreading other materials, including sand, lime, and ice melt. Due to their versatile nature, we can say that broadcast spreaders are all-round landscape care tools you can use all year round.

Are there different types of broadcast spreaders?

Yes. There are two major categories of broadcast spreaders – handheld and wheeled.

  • Handheld seed spreaders: Are quick and easy to use tools, ideal for small lawns and gardens. Their greatest advantage is the excellent maneuverability around obstacles, and you can also use them on all kinds of slopes. Some models come with shoulder straps that make it easier to carry around, but larger models can become really heavy when filled with spread material.
  • Wheeled seed spreaders: Are designed for quicker and more comfortable covering of larger surfaces, although some models are compact enough to use on small lawns. Their greatest strength is that you don’t have to physically carry them. Wheeled spreaders come in walk-behind models, similar to the push lawn mowers, and tow-behind variants similar to the plug aerators or dethatchers. The former type is ideal for lawns up to ½ acres, while the latter works great on lawns of ½ acres or more. On the downside, these models are often harder to manage around obstacles and on sloped terrains.

How to use a fertilizer spreader?

Wheeled fertilizer spreaders – whether push or towed – are relatively easy to use; take a look at the quick steps below.

  1. Depending on what material you have to spread (seeds, fertilizer, lime, ice melt, etc.), set the flow level to the recommended spread rate for the product – this is typically specified on the product’s package.
  2. Place the machine on a walkway or driveway and make sure the flow lever is closed. Fill the hopper with the spreading product. By doing so, you’ll avoid saturating one lawn spot with whatever material you want to spread, should it fall to the ground.
  3. Sweep off any product residues from the asphalt and open the flow lever. Push – or tow – the spreader a few paces of your normal walking or driving speed, then close the flow lever. Measure the total spreading width as well as the spreading width of each side, so you can decide on a dispersal pattern. Sweep the material off the asphalt and pour it back into the hopper.
  4. Start spreading the product onto the lawn, maintaining a constant speed. Using the width measurements you just took, walk in a serpentine pattern to cover the whole surface in as little time as possible and with minimum waste.

Can I use a seed spreader for anything other than seeding?

Seed spreader is just one of the ways broadcast spreaders are called, so you can use the machine for much more than seeding. In broad lines, you can use it for:

  • Spreading fertilizer during late spring and summer
  • Spreading mulch
  • Spreading herbicides and insecticides
  • Spreading lime or sand to adjust the composition of the soil
  • Spreading compost
  • Spreading ice melt / salt

When is the best time to seed and fertilize a yard?

Broadcast spreaders may be all-round machines you can use all year long, but the truth is that most people use them majorly for seeding and fertilizing.

When to seed?

While many homeowners believe early spring should be the best time, the truth is that anytime from March to October is great for sowing grass. If you sow in early spring, you can expect a beautiful green lawn by the beginning of summer, provided the weather is on your side. If the weather is too cold, seedlings might die off. A too dry and hot summer can also kill young grass blades easily.

In September and October, though, the soil is still warm, and the weather is typically mild. You can also expect a good amount of rainfall that’ll help you save some bucks on irrigation, and the grass will come out strong and healthy in the next season.

When to fertilize?

If you choose a type of grass adapted to the type of soil you have and climate in your area, fertilizing might not always be necessary. In case it is needed, though, you should fertilize a few weeks after the seedlings have sprouted.

If you’ve sowed in March, for example, you should first fertilize the lawn in mid-April or May. Then, fertilize every six weeks until early October.

What features should I look for in a broadcast spreader?

A broadcast spreader is undeniably an essential machine for quick sowing, fertilizing, and overall lawn maintenance. Here are a few essential features to look for before buying:

  • Hopper: The best broadcast spreader should have a heavy-duty hopper made from quality polypropylene and with a capacity of at least 20 pounds in case of a handheld model. In walk-behind or tow-behind spreaders, look for a capacity between 40 and 175 pounds, depending on the model you want and the size of your lawn.
  • Construction: High-quality wheeled seed spreaders should be made from non-corrosive materials. Tubular steel coated with epoxy powder is perhaps your best bet, as the material is relatively lightweight and rust-resistant.
  • Wheels: If you want the machine to live up to the best broadcast spreader title, make sure it comes with large, pneumatic wheels that can tackle all kinds of terrains.
  • Ease of setup: Some manufacturers sell their machines either fully or partly disassembled. Unless you want to spend hours figuring out how to put the spreader together, make sure that it comes with clear instructions and that it’s relatively easy to set up.
  • Calibration: Most broadcast spreaders are factory calibrated, but don’t take it for granted. If you want to be safe rather than sorry, check it out before buying.
  • Spreading accuracy: Last but not least, it is crucial to invest in a spreader that delivers reliable spreading accuracy. This will ensure that every bit of your lawn receives the same treatment.

Best Broadcast Spreader for the Money

Best value
Agri-Fab 45-0462

Agri-Fab 45-0462 Push Broadcast Spreader

Perfect for most homes

Heavy-duty grade construction blends with unrivaled maneuverability and ease of use.

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