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Pros & Cons of Different Types of Lawn Spreaders

Camille Landry posted this on Apr 3, 2017

A common lawn spreader

Guest post provided by Yard Care Gurus


Your yard or area that you plan on using a spreader will make a big impact on the spreader that you choose. Factors for consideration are the shape, size, and terrain of the area you'll be working on, the amount of time you have to work with, how exact you'll need to be, and whether or not you'll need to work around objects. Knowing what the project requires will help you decide between a broadcast, drop, or handheld lawn spreader. Here are some benefits and drawbacks to each type.


Broadcast Spreader


A broadcast lawn spreader can be either pushed manually or towed behind a lawn mower or ATV. It can cover a large surface area at once, dispersing seed or fertilizer from its bottom, front, and sides. Due to the type of release mechanism used by a broadcast spreader, this device is structurally different from its drop lawn spreader counterpart. A dial on the broadcast spreader will allow you to adjust the amount of material you would like released. Using the recommended amount shown in the directions on the bag of the seed or fertilizer you're spreading will be useful, plus it is recommended that you practice spreading on concrete to determine if you're satisfied with the settings.



  • It produces a faster spread, covering more surface area at once.

  • This is a great tool for jobs where less precision is needed.

  • The broad coverage is a time-saver.



  • Tasks requiring more precision, like around or near flower beds, won't be done as effectively.

  • The material you are spreading may end up in places you don't want due to wind and the larger dispersal area of the spreader.


Drop Spreader

A drop lawn spreader, also sold in tow behind or push models, very closely resembles the broadcast lawn spreader except, as the name implies, the material you're spreading is dispersed from a bottom compartment only. You can set the amount that is dispersed at one time, or the flow rate, according to your project and material needs. The drop lawn spreader allows for a more detail-focused application of seed, weed killer, or fertilizer. While it may take more time than a broadcast spreader would, you won't have to worry as much about getting seed in your flower beds, neighbor's yard, or walkway.



  • It allows for more precise application.

  • It's easier to avoid overlapping materials and material being spread is less susceptible to wind manipulation, as it is dispersed only from the bottom.

  • It is ideal for smaller yards with few obstacles.



  • Spreading of material is generally more time-consuming.

  • Spreading material for large yards is not as easy to do with a drop spreader as it is with a broadcast spreader.


Handheld Spreader

A handheld lawn spreader offers a more portable and affordable option. More suitable for small yards or projects requiring highly detailed application of whatever is being spread, a handheld lawn spreader is carried and manually cranked. The seed or fertilizer being spread comes from a downward facing compartment while the device is being cranked. Many people elect to use a drop or broadcast spreader for a large section of their yard and then cover any spots they may have missed around objects or gardens with the handheld spreader.



  • This is excellent for very small, targeted areas.

  • It often comes pre-assembled in the box, which is an added convenience.

  • It's more affordable than the alternatives.



  • It is highly inaccurate in large areas.

  • Its broadcast of material may be of poorer quality than a drop or broadcast spreader.


Whatever your project needs are, there's a type of spreader that will help you get the yard you've always wanted. Whether you choose a handheld, drop, or broadcast lawn spreader, it will take your commitment and hard work to help produce the results you're looking for. Prepare, practice, and choose the right spreader to achieve and maintain an attractive, head-turning yard.


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