Spreaders are handy tools for maintaining a landscape and can be used for a bevy of tasks including seeding, fertilizing, amending soil and spreading salt for deicing. When deciding between the two main types of spreaders -- drop and broadcast also called rotary -- a number of aspects should be evaluated so that you choose the best spreader for your topography, for the type of task, and for the granular product you will use the spreader with greatest frequency.
Choose a drop spreader if you have a small area bordered by planting beds, water features or walkways that you do not want showered with granules as may happen with a rotary spreader. Drops spreaders have a defined edge of placement that is precise where rotary spreader placement is not uniform and requires considerably more effort for even coverage and perfect placement.
Opt for a rotary spreader if you regularly work over a large swath of lawn or soil area as it helps cover a greater distance in less time than a drop spreader.
Purchase a rotary spreader if you are looking for the easiest, lightest pushing workout. Drop spreaders are heavier and require more energy and effort to propel than rotary units.
Select a drop spreader if depositing a perfectly uniform amount of granules is critical for your most common tasks. Opt for a rotary spreader to deliver a dense band of material down a central strip that tapers out to the furthest edge of the reach of the spreader. Drop spreaders lay down a uniform amount of material that is the precise and consistent width of the spreader aperture with every pass that can be very important in seeding and fertilizing.
Buy a rotary spreader if you are using the tool over taller lawn grass or to seed or fertilize meadow areas or other topography where the plant height may be taller than 2 to 4-inches. Rotary spreaders generally have a greater ground clearance.