Drop Spreader Vs Broadcast Spreader | Which Should You Get for Your Lawn?

drop spreader vs broadcast spreader

All lawn owners and gardening enthusiasts strive to keep their lawn well-manicured and in a vibrant green color. A quality spreader thereby becomes important, especially when it is the time to fertilize or to apply granular products to the lawn. These spreaders can be used throughout the season for applying herbicides, nitrogen, growth fertilizers or just some seeds. 

What is a Lawn Spreader? 

what is a lawn spreader

Spreaders are mainly used for evenly spreading the fertilisers and seeds across the lawn. Spreaders are the only way to efficiently apply all the materials and lawn care products like fertilisers, herbicides, grass seeds, and others. They contain a hopper to hold the product and an adjustable opening is present that controls the quantity of the fertiliser or seed being distributed. 

Lawn Spreaders may sometimes also be called seed spreaders or fertilizer spreaders. Their main purpose is to spread the small granular items across the space like a lawn. These can’t be used with a raised garden though. You’ll have to manually sow seeds in a setting like that. They can be largely of two types: drop and broadcast. Each type can further be either push ahead or tow behind. Hence arises the question which is better: broadcast or drop spreader?

Difference Between Drop Spreader Vs Broadcaster Spreader

FeatureDrop SpreaderBroadcast Spreader
CoverageNarrow and preciseWide and varied
ApplicationIdeal for even, controlled coverage of fertilizers and seedSuitable for covering large areas quickly and effectively
AccuracyMore precise, suitable for small lawns and gardensLess precise, but suitable for larger areas
CostGenerally less expensiveGenerally more expensive
MaintenanceSimpler design, easier to clean and storeMore complex design, requires more maintenance
Best UseSuitable for small lawns, gardens and areas with obstaclesIdeal for large open spaces, athletic fields, and farms
ProsProvides even distribution, prevents over-fertilizationCovers large areas quickly and efficiently
ConsNot suitable for large areas, requires multiple passesMay lead to uneven distribution, may over-fertilize or burn areas if not used properly

Drop Spreader Vs Broadcast Spreader Breakdown

What is a Drop Spreader?

what is a drop spreader

Drop spreader as the name suggests drops the product. They make use of gravity to efficiently deposit the fertilisers, grass seeds or herbicides below the spreader from their bottom openings. When the spreader vibrates the materials fall down through holes and get evenly deposited. Drop spreaders are particularly efficient in situations where you are aware of the precise release of the product. 

Drop spreaders can be very accurate as they drop even rows of fertilisers and seeds exactly where you want. If you overlap the wheel marks you can make sure that you cover the entire lawn.

Usually how much of the product is distributed and how much area has been covered, depends on your speed of walking. Such spreaders come in two models: manual and tow behind. They even allow you to set the rate of flow according to the project requirements and this can be very helpful especially in an urban setting where you wish to avoid putting seeds in the adjacent garden. 

Benefits of Using a Drop Spreader 

  • Drop spreader makes sure that there is no wastage of product as you spread it, and will not spread it in areas where it is not required. Thereby prevents cross-contamination or haphazardly seeding an area you don’t want seeded. 
  • Since it spreads directly below the spreader, it can be very precise and accurate 
  • It is easy to operate and provides a precise and controlled coverage
  • It is easier to navigate around obstacles and tighter spots. 
  • The distribution is not affected by the winds unlike in the case of broadcast spreaders
  • Less of the granular elements ends up on the adjacent places like the neighbours lawn or parking spaces or flower beds

Downsides of Using a Drop Spreader 

  • Suitable for wide and narrow arrangement, but not for larger spaces
  • More suitable for smaller lawns under 5000 sq ft
  • It takes longer to cover a particular area 
  • Not suitable for fertilising purposes 

 What is a Broadcast Spreader? 

what is a broadcast spreader

Broadcast spreaders as their name suggests fling or broadcast the seeds. They can distribute the granular elements in a fan-like pattern that is in all directions and hence covers a wider area as compared to drop spreader. They can either be pushed manually or towed behind a small vehicle like a lawn mower. 

Such spreaders are effective in covering a large surface area in a single time only since it depresses from all sides, bottom and front. Precision is however not possible at all times due to the chaotic spraying of the seeds.

It can be beneficial in big lawn settings where there is a lot of space that has to be covered. The amount of product distributed and the area covered usually depends on your rate of walking and the hole size of the spreader. They spread less product on the edges of its broadcast range. 

Benefits of Using a Broadcast Spreader?

  • Offers a greater coverage, so can easily be used in bigger lawns and larger spaces. 
  • Capable of going at a faster pace thereby covering more area in lesser time. 
  • You do not have to be precise to walk in a straight manner and avoid overlapping. You can move as you want all around the lawn. 
  • Hopper capacity is larger than in drop spreaders, hence lesser refills 
  • Saves time as its ability to quickly cover the areas saves us multiple trips back and forth and thereby reduces time used. 

Limitations of Using a Broadcast Spreader

  • Product can be distributed in areas where you don’t want it like sidewalk, path, flower beds, driveways
  • More suitable for larger spaces where precision is not a requirement 

When Should You Use a Drop Spreader? 

Since drop spreaders deposit the contents right below them, they can be more suitable for a narrow arrangement. An ideal use of a drop spreader can be around driveways or sidewalks. Granular products can stain the pavements so while using a drop spreader you can walk along the driveway and sidewalk without wasting your product or staining the surroundings and while also ensuring that the edges also get appropriate nourishment. 

Drop spreaders are most suitable for smaller lawns, since it is easier to stay on path and to overlap. In a lawn surrounded by sensitive areas where herbicides and other granules shouldn’t be present, using a drop spreader is highly suggested. When you are seeding specific areas or patches of your lawns choose this spreader since it prevents wastage and is precise and accurate. 

When Should You Use a Broadcast Spreader? 

Broadcast spreaders are most suitable for a big lawn setting where there is a lot of space. These spreaders can be very efficient as they provide good lawn coverage. It makes sure that different parts of the lawn receive an even coverage. Broadcast spreaders can be rather versatile and can be modified according to the needs of the lawn. 

This spreader can be the best option for homeowners  who do not wish to spend a lot of time doing the lawn care maintenance. Since it gets maximum coverage in a minimal amount of time, the broadcast spreader becomes a major time saver. For seeding an entire lawn, you should choose this spreader since it provides greater coverage. For application of fertilisers go with a broadcast spreader since it will give the most consistent coverage. 

Verdict | Which is the Best Spreader for Seeding? 

Spreaders are used for evenly distributing the seeds and fertilizers across the lawn. Choosing the right spreader usually depends on your lawn and preferences and the work that you want to get done with it. Both kinds, however, require you to take additional measures to ensure that birds don’t eat your grass seed. You should also calibrate your spreader to the correct settings, since each spreader can be slightly different. Also make sure to clean your spreader properly after each use since you do not want different materials to mix. 

A broadcast and drop spreader are great products to keep in your storage shed. They can be utilised in various situations and in multiple ways. Each is a good granular spreader depending and varying according to the lawn size and requirements. Having both of them is also a sound option as they can then be utilized in different ways.

The broadcast spreader can be used to cover most of the lawn, while the edges and areas around driveways, paths, sidewalks and flower beds where precision is more important, can be done using the drop spreader. If you however have to choose one you should go with a broadcast spreader and then employ methods to keep the granules off the unwanted areas.

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