If your garden or yard is large enough, then spreading seeds or fertilizers will need a push spreader. This helps to cut down your workload and even speeds up your spreading time.

Many gardeners often find themselves having to choose between the drop and the broadcast spreader. You should know that they both do the same job but in their different ways.

This side by side review shows you the different features of each type of spreader and offers you enough information to make the right choice between the two.

Quick Comparison Table:

Best Drop Spreader

Agri-Fab Pound Max Tow Behind Drop Spreader

Best Broadcast Spreader

Scotts Turf Builder EdgeGuard Deluxe Broadcast Spreader

Drop Spreader

Scotts Turf Builder Classic Drop Spreader

A drop spreader is designed to drop seeds or fertilizer granules between its wheels. This creates a defined and more manageable distribution width.

When using a drop spreader, the seed only falls where the operator walks, so this makes the entire operation easier to understand and follow. That’s why the drop spreader is perfect for beginners.

The downside of this drop spreader’s simplicity is that the operator must overlap his path on each crossing of the lawn to make sure there is an even coverage.

Most drop spreaders feature a handle to open and regulate the size of the holes underneath the hopper for the seeds to drop. The hopper on a drop spreader is also usually smaller than the one on a broadcast spreader.

Drop spreaders are ideal for smaller lawns and gardens, especially where time is not an issue. They are also good for handling precise jobs, where there could be a sidewalk, a pool, or a flower bed near the lawn and you need to keep things under control.

  • Pros of Drop Spreader

  • Newbie friendly. The drop spreader is the easier of the two to use. Simply fill your seeds or granules, open the holes, and take a walk through the lawn while pushing. There is nothing much to think about or do here, and anyone will be up and running in a short while.
  • Offers precise control. In addition to being easy to manage, a drop spreader is also easier to control. If you have a swimming pool nearby, a bed of roses, or even a beautiful pathway around your lawn, the drop spreader is what you need to make sure that seeds and fertilizers drop only where they need to drop.
  • Better for tight spaces. For tight spaces and corners, the drop spreader is also the ideal tool.
  • No need for cleanups. Since everything gets dropped right where they need to be, there’s no need to clean up after yourself.
  • Cons of Drop Spreaders

  • Takes longer to finish. The drop spreader might be great for many things, but it’s slower than a broadcast spreader. This means that it’s probably not your best tool when working with larger lawns or in a commercial setting.
  • Heavier than broadcast spreaders. Their design makes them heavier than broadcast spreaders and therefore, more difficult to push. For those in need of a workout, this might be a plus though.
  • Even coverage issues. The possibility of leaving out patches that didn’t get fertilizer or seeds is much higher with drop spreaders.

Broadcast Spreader

Scotts Pro EdgeGuard Broadcast Spreader

A broadcast or rotary spreader features a design which makes it spread fertilizer or seeds in an arc from the front and the sides. Broadcast spreaders sacrifice precision for a wider reach.

They are faster than drop spreaders and are ideal for larger lawns or gardens. A broadcast spreader usually has a larger hopper, which is also positioned higher than the hopper of a drop spreader.

Most broadcast spreaders feature a rotating disc beneath their hopper. This spins around and any seeds or granules that fall into it gets spread out far and wide according to the spreader’s settings.

This kind of spreader is not ideal for small lawns or those with fittings like a pool, a pathway, or a bed of roses because its spreading pattern is hard to control.

With a broadcast spreader, you are sure to get a more even coverage over a wider area than with a drop spreader. You are also able to reach more areas that are difficult to reach with a drop spreader.

  • Pros of Broadcast Spreaders

  • Covers more ground in less time. A broadcast spreader’s design functions to cover more ground in less time than a drop spreader. Most broadcast spreaders have their discs connected to the wheels, so the faster you walk, the faster and wider you spread.
  • Lighter weight. Broadcast spreaders are generally more lightweight than drop spreaders because of their design and functioning principles. This makes them easier to handle.
  • More storage capacity. The hopper in broadcast spreaders is usually larger and therefore offers more capacity. This enables the operator to process larger areas than a drop spreader before needing a refill.
  • Ideal for vast areas. Combining a larger hopper and a wider spreading capacity makes broadcast spreaders the perfect tool for those who need to work on large lawns or gardens of any kind.
  • Cons of Broadcast Spreaders

  • Not ideal for areas with water or flowers. One drawback with broadcast spreaders is that you can’t control where the seeds or fertilizer granules fall. This creates issues for lawns with nearby pools, flower beds, or walkways, which might get damaged or polluted from fertilizers.
  • Can be affected by wind. Unlike drop spreaders, which have their holes closer to the ground, the seeds or fertilizer granules from broadcast spreaders usually get affected by the wind because they get released at a higher height from the ground.

Making the Right Spreader Choice

Making The Right Spreader Choice

Drop spreaders and broadcast spreaders each have their special features and this makes them ideal for different types of jobs. Your choice between the two, therefore, will depend on exactly what you plan to do. Following is an overview of these features.

Coming to the end of this side by side review of drop and broadcast spreaders, it must be obvious by now, that no spreader is simply better than the other.

Depending on whether you have to work on a small or a large yard, and whether there is landscaping with a pool or a bed of roses, you’ll need to make your choice accordingly.

If your lawn is small, then a drop spreader will do. Else, if it’s medium to large-sized, and you don’t mind where your fertilizer granules fall on, then the broadcast spreader will do.

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