Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.Henry David Thoreau

Broadcast Spreader vs. Drop Spreader: Which is Better?

Broadcast Spreader vs. Drop Spreader: Which is Better?

If you’ve ever looked into purchasing a fertilizer spreader, chances are you’ve encountered a debate as to which type is best – the broadcast or drop spreader. You may have heard both sides of the argument claiming one or the other works best for your needs, but what really makes these two types of spreaders different? We will explore this age old question and provide valuable insight that can help guide your decision-making process when it comes to selecting the right equipment for your lawn and garden tasks. By looking at where they differ in terms of coverage area, cost, accuracy and convenience factors, our hope is that we can give you an information-packed article on each option so that you can create a perfect balance between cost efficiency and convenience.

What is a Broadcast Lawn Spreader?

A broadcast lawn spreader is a device used to spread fertilizer or seed over a large area of grass evenly. It works by spinning a circular disc with small holes in it, which allows the material to be dispersed as it moves through the air. This type of spreader is usually attached to the back of a tractor or pushed manually. The advantage to this type of spreading is that you can cover a large area quickly and easily.

What is a Drop Spreader?

A drop spreader is a type of fertilizer or seed spreading device that uses gravity to disperse material evenly across a specific area. The material can be poured into the hopper, then released through one or more outlets onto the ground below. This type of spreader is often used for residential lawns and gardens, as it does not require any moving parts, which keeps maintenance costs low. Additionally, it provides precise control over the amount of material being released per square foot. [1]

What is a Drop Spreader?

Drop Spreader vs. Broadcast Spreader

It is a debate that has been going on for some time in the lawn care industry. Both types of spreaders offer benefits, but it can be difficult to decide which one will work best for your particular needs.

Broadcast Spreaders are ideal for spreading materials like weed killer and fertilizer over large areas quickly. This makes them especially useful for larger properties or those with thicker vegetation where manual application would take much longer.

The main drawback to broadcast spreaders is that they tend to be less precise than drop spreaders, so you may end up with uneven coverage or waste material if you don’t adjust the settings properly.

Other Spreader Vehicle Types

In addition to broadcast and drop spreaders, there are other types of spreader vehicles that can be used for various applications. For example, spin spreaders use a spinning plate or disc to fling material across the area. These are often used for spreading fertilizers and pesticides over large areas quickly.

Boom sprayers also work well for larger jobs such as spraying weeds with herbicides or trees with insecticides. They employ a long arm fitted with nozzles that can reach farther than a handheld sprayer can.

Tow-behind broadcast spreaders are also popular and feature wider hoppers than standard push models so they can cover more ground in less time.

Finally, hand spreaders are great for smaller lawns since they’re easy to maneuver and require less physical effort than push models.

No matter which type of spreader vehicle you choose, it’s important to consider your project and application before making a purchase in order to determine the best option for your needs. [2]

Other Spreader Vehicle Types

Pros and Cons of Broadcast Lawn Spreader

A broadcast lawn spreader is an ideal tool for quickly spreading fertilizer or grass seed over a large area. The advantage of using this type of machine is that you can cover a larger area at once, which means less time spent working on your lawn. Pros include the ability to evenly distribute material across the entire yard, as well as the convenience of not having to manually apply it.

However, there are some drawbacks to consider. For example, it may be difficult to achieve uniform coverage with this type of spreader since material tends to disperse unevenly due to wind and other factors. Additionally, there is a greater risk of under- or over-application if you do not adjust the settings correctly.

Finally, broadcast spreaders can be difficult to control and maneuver in tight spots. [3]

Pros and Cons of Drop Spreader

Drop spreaders have the advantage of providing very precise applications, giving you control over how and where your fertilizer is applied. They are also easy to use and require minimal maintenance compared to broadcast spreaders.

However, they can take more time and effort to cover large areas due to their slower pace, making them less ideal for larger lawns or gardens.

Furthermore, drop spreaders don’t disperse the granules evenly across the area being treated, so some spots may receive more granules than others. This could cause uneven growth in your plants or grass if not monitored carefully.

Additionally, drop spreaders cannot be used with wet materials since this would affect precision application. This makes it unsuitable for salt applications in winter months when moisture is common.

Overall, drop spreaders are best used for small and medium areas where accuracy is essential, since they provide more control over the application. They are also great for fertilizer applications with granules of uniform sizes to ensure even coverage across the area being treated. However, if you need to cover a larger area with wet materials or salt faster, broadcast spreaders are probably the better choice. [4]

Pros and Cons of Drop Spreader

When to Use a Broadcast Spreader?

A broadcast spreader is a type of fertilizer or seed spreader that distributes material in an even layer across the entire surface of a lawn. This makes it ideal for applications such as overseeding, where you want to ensure every area receives an equal amount of coverage with the material being applied. It is also very useful when covering large areas quickly because it can cover more ground than a drop spreader.

When to Use Drop Spreader?

When you’re looking for a precise application of materials, such as fertilizer, insecticide, and other lawn care products, drop spreaders are the go-to choice.

This is because they have a more even distribution of material over smaller spaces than broadcast spreaders. Drop spreaders also offer greater control when applying harsh chemicals or when working around delicate plants or tight corners. These spreaders are ideal for larger properties with obstacles that may limit the spreading area or where precision is required to get the job done right. So if you want an exacting measure of coverage and accuracy in your lawn care applications, then a drop spreader should be your first choice!

The downside to using a drop spreader is that it can take longer to cover the same area than a broadcast spreader. It may also be harder to use, with more complicated settings and directions for proper application. But if you need precision, then all of this extra effort will prove worth it in the end.

To get the most out of your drop spreader, make sure to read the instructions and follow them closely. And don’t forget to calibrate your machine before each use! This ensures that you are getting an even coverage throughout each area. With these tips in mind, you can be sure that you’re getting the best results from your drop spreader every time. [5]

When to Use Drop Spreader?

Factors That Determine the Type of Spreader to Use

While broadcast spreaders and drop spreaders both have their strengths, there are some key factors that you should consider when choosing the type of spreader for your lawn. The size of your yard will determine how long it will take to finish distributing fertilizer or seed, so a broadcast spreader is generally suitable for larger yards while a drop spreader is better suited for smaller spaces.

Additionally, the type of material you’re spreading will also affect which kind of equipment to use; broadcast spreaders are able to cover more ground quickly with dry materials like grass seed while drop spreaders may be more efficient with wetter materials like fertilizers.

Finally, accuracy is important when applying any type of product on the lawn, so if precision in application is important to you, a drop spreader is probably the better choice. Since material falls through small openings in a drop spreader only when it passes directly beneath an opening, there’s far less risk of over-application or areas missed altogether.

The key to getting the most out of your lawn treatment is understanding which type of spreader works best for your situation. Consider these factors carefully before you choose between a broadcast or drop spreader and you should have no problem ensuring that your lawn looks its best all season long! [6]

Spreader Settings Calibration

Broadcast spreaders and drop spreaders both require calibration in order to ensure even application of fertilizer or other materials. Broadcast spreaders have settings that control the width of their pattern and the rate at which material is released; this allows for more precise application, but it also requires more manual effort on the part of the user. Drop spreaders have pre-set patterns, so they are much easier to use but cannot be adjusted as finely as a broadcast spreader.

When calibrating any type of spreader, it’s important to test its accuracy first. To do this, place markers around a known area (e.g., a square) and then apply the material using your chosen setting. Measure how far each marker is from each other and compare the results to the intended pattern. If the result is not what was expected, you can adjust your setting accordingly until you get a consistent spread.

Ultimately, broadcast spreaders are more precise than drop spreaders when it comes to application and setting adjustments, but drop spreaders may be better suited for larger areas and require less manual effort. The type of material being applied will also play an important role in determining which type of spreader works best; heavier materials such as granules or pellets may need a broadcast spreader while lighter materials like seed or fertilizer can be effectively distributed with either option.  No matter which type of spreader is chosen, proper calibration is essential for even coverage and good results. [7]

Spreader Settings Calibration


What is the most accurate Fertilizer spreader?

The most accurate fertilizer spreader depends on the application and the desired results. For large-scale lawns or fields, broadcast spreaders are generally more effective. These spreaders disperse fertilizer over a wide area quickly and evenly. Drop spreaders, however, are better suited for smaller areas like gardens and flower beds because they offer greater precision in distributing fertilizers exactly where it is needed. In short, drop spreaders provide more accuracy than broadcast spreaders but may not be as efficient for larger projects.

What type of fertilizer should I use with a broadcast or drop spreader?

Broadcast and drop spreaders can be used similarly with both granular and liquid fertilizers; however, each type offers different benefits depending on the application. Granular fertilizers are ideal for broadcast spreaders as they disperse evenly over a wide area and can be used in windy conditions. On the other hand, liquid fertilizers should be applied using drop spreaders because they allow you to accurately place fertilizer exactly where it is needed.

What are some of the advantages of using a broadcast or drop spreader?

Broadcast spreaders are best suited for larger areas such as lawns and fields because they quickly and evenly distribute fertilizers over a wider area than a drop spreader. They also provide more accuracy when applying granular fertilizers and can be used in windy conditions without worrying about losing precision. Drop spreaders offer greater accuracy when distributing liquid fertilizers as you can precisely place fertilizers exactly where it is needed. They also provide excellent control when treating small areas such as flower beds and gardens.

Are there any safety concerns with using broadcast or drop spreaders?

Yes, both broadcast and drop spreaders should be used with caution to avoid potential hazards. When operating a spreader, always wear protective clothing including gloves, long pants, and closed-toe shoes. Additionally, keep children and pets away from the area while fertilizer is being applied to avoid accidental contact with potentially hazardous materials. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper use of the equipment and wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times.

Is drop spreader good for fertilizer?

The answer to this question depends on what type of fertilizer you are using and what type of spreading pattern you desire. Generally speaking, a drop spreader is better for smaller particles or granular fertilizer because it allows for greater accuracy in application by dispensing individual drops of material along the surface being treated. Broadcast spreaders, on the other hand, can be used with larger particles such as pellets or prills which are better suited to covering large areas quickly and evenly. In either case, it is important that each type of spreader is calibrated accurately and operated according to manufacturer’s instructions in order to ensure an even application rate across your lawn or garden area.

What can you use a broadcast spreader for?

Broadcast spreaders are most commonly used for applications of granular or pelletized material such as fertilizer, herbicides, insecticides, and other lawn care products. They are especially useful when needing to cover a large area quickly and evenly with these materials. Additionally, broadcast spreaders can be used for spreading grass seed in order to provide even coverage over a landscape. In conclusion, the choice between drop spreader and broadcast spreader depends on what type of material is being applied and what type of application pattern is desired. Both types of spreaders offer advantages and disadvantages depending on the job at hand. Be sure to select the appropriate device and calibrate it correctly in order to ensure accurate application results tailored to your specific needs.

Can I use a broadcast spreader for soil?

Yes, broadcast spreaders can be used but they are generally more effective for distributing fertilizer and other granular products, such as grass seed. A drop spreader is a better choice for spreading soil because it will allow you to place the soil in specific areas with precision, instead of broadcasting it over a wider area. Drop spreaders also help reduce waste by delivering only the necessary amount of material to each spot. With a broadcast spreader, it’s easy to end up with too much or not enough material in one area due to movement or wind drift. Additionally, some broadcast spreaders may create tracks from the spinning disc which could cause uneven distribution. For these reasons, using a drop spreader for soil is typically recommended as opposed to a broadcast spreader.

Useful Video: Broadcast Spreader vs Drop Spreader – Which is Better?


When it comes to choosing between a broadcast spreader and a drop spreader, there are pros and cons for both. Ultimately, the decision will depend on what you hope to achieve with your lawn care program. If you’re looking to quickly cover a large area of land with fertilizers or herbicides, then a broadcast spreader is the most efficient option. For more precise coverage of specific areas of turf grass, then using a drop spreader can be the better choice. Both types of equipment have their benefits, so it’s important to weigh them carefully before making your final selection. With the right information in hand and proper use of either type of machine, you’ll be able to create beautiful lawns that you can be proud of.

No matter which type of spreader you decide to use, it is important to remember that regular maintenance and calibration are essential for optimal performance and accuracy. Furthermore, always make sure to practice safe lawn care habits by reading label instructions prior to application. If done correctly, a broadcast spreader or drop spreader can provide effective and efficient coverage of fertilizers or herbicides that will give your outdoor spaces the lush look they deserve.


  1. https://www.progreen.co.uk/blog/deciding-between-a-broadcast-or-drop-spreader/
  2. http://www.planitdiy.com/faqs/what-are-the-advantages-and-disadvantages-of-drop-spreaders-and-broadcast-spreaders/
  3. https://sodsolutions.com/technology-equipment/broadcast-vs-drop-spreaders/
  4. https://homeguides.sfgate.com/drop-spreader-vs-broadcast-spreader-85311.html
  5. https://machinelounge.com/broadcast-spreader-vs-drop-spreader/
  6. https://thelawnreview.com/drop-spreaders-vs-broadcast-spreaders/
  7. https://www.igra-world.com/drop-vs-broadcast-spreader/