Are you looking for the best manual fertilizer spreader? Today I will explain how to choose the fertilizer spreader, how it works and which are the most interesting models on sale.

There are different types of granular or powder fertilizer spreaders, as in the case of the trolley or the compact model with free rotation. What matters is that all tools of this type (in addition to being cheap) greatly relieve the grower’s fatigue. In fact, these are simple but intelligent tools, which allow you to fertilize rather large areas of land, reducing fatigue to almost zero. All because they avoid having to spread the fertilizer by hand, also improving the precision of the operations.

Types of manual fertilizer spreaders

As I mentioned above, limiting ourselves to the field of manual fertilizer spreaders, we can basically find two types of products: the trolley and the free-rotating box. The former looks like a kind of wheelbarrow, while the latter looks like a simple box or bucket with a crank. In reality there is also a third option, very similar to the wheelbarrow, which deserves to be mentioned. Don’t worry, these are really easy to use and understand tools.

1. Fertilizer spreader trolley

It is a wheelbarrow equipped with a compartment to contain the fertilizer (hopper), and two plastic wheels or with a pneumatic tread, to facilitate the sliding of the trolley on earthy surfaces and grass. Of course we also find a handle, which allows us to push the wheelbarrow forward, effortlessly and without straining the back.

The spreading of the fertilizer takes place thanks to a very simple system. First of all, the wheelbarrow has holes inside the container (usually there are three), which allow the fertilizer to “slide” downwards. Before falling on the grass, however, the product ends up on a rotating plate which, thanks to the centrifugal force activated by the moving wheels, literally throws the fertilizer on the turf in a uniform, fan-like manner (a technique known as “spreading”) .

This is important, as an excessive spill or build-up of product in one area could burn the weed, even if you are using a slow release fertilizer.

Remember that I am talking to you about a manual tool, so the rotation of the plate is mechanically triggered by the movement of the wheels. The crank for opening the holes can be found on one of the two handles of the wheelbarrow, so it is very easy to use while you proceed forward with the trolley.

Finally, under the holes there are some gimmicks called throttles, which have the task of limiting the range of the fertilizer spreader (which usually is around a maximum of 2-3 meters). In some cases you can act by limiting the amount of product that passes through the holes, thanks to a special lever. In summary:

  • Cassone: the wheelbarrow tank has holes to allow the fertilizer to descend towards the lawn.
  • Plate: under the tank there is a plate, which receives the falling fertilizer and spreads it like a fan on the lawn, thanks to a centrifugal movement.
  • Partializers: these are nozzles that allow to limit the range, so that it can be increased or lowered according to the size of the lawn to be fertilized.
  • Knob for activation: it is located on one of the two handles, and allows the user to open the fertilizer drop holes. Typically just push it forward to do this, and release it to close the holes.
  • Wheels: the forward movement of the wheels automatically activates the rotation of the plate.

2. Rectangular seed spreader trolley

There are also other types of manual fertilizer spreader trolley for vineyards or lawns, with a low rectangular body, and with an opening mechanism without a rotating plate. In practice, in these models the fertilizer falls directly on the ground, and in fact they are called “drop spreaders”. Although they can also be used for fertilizing, in reality these particular wheelbarrows are born as manual seeders.

Pros and cons? They guarantee greater precision when sowing or fertilizing, but are only suitable for medium-small lawns, because they cannot throw the product into the surrounding areas. In other words, you will have to run them along the entire surface of the garden, and if this is very large, it is logical that it will take a long time.

3. Free-rotating fertilizer spreader

The basic concept is the same as the wheeled fertilizer spreader, only in this case there are no wheels. It means that the rotation of the plate, or of the mechanism that allows the fanning of the fertilizer or seeds, will have to be triggered manually by the user. Like? By turning a simple crank, located on the side of this sort of bucket, or by activating the motor (if the model is electric).

Note: the fertilizer spreader can also be an accessory to be connected to one thin me electric. In this case it is driven by the motor integrated in the power tool.

Also in this case you can adjust the amount of product that will be thrown towards the lawn, by acting on a small knob located on the handle of the tool. The range, on the other hand, must be adjusted manually by moving the crank more or less quickly. Secondly, at the top of the handle there is also an opening / closing button for the dispensing holes, so that the spreader can be easily managed.

Best manual fertilizer spreaders

1. Scotts Easy Green Fertilizer Spreader in Cart

While not the best product on the market, this fertilizer spreader trolley has an excellent quality / price ratio. In fact, at a low cost, you will take home a wheelbarrow with a centrifugal plate and excellent technical values. The coverage is capable of reaching 3.5 meters, the body capacity is up to 9 liters, and the handlebar can be adjusted in height.

  • 3.5 meter coverage
  • Capacity of maximum 9 liters
  • Trolley with rotating plate
  • Adjustable handlebar
  • Adjustable volume delivered
  • Plastic wheels

It is a good tool for fertilizer applications in medium to large lawns with a long range (3.5 meters).

Of course, you can also use it to spread seeds, but I don’t recommend using it with salt. The capacity of the body is also of a good standard, as it reaches a maximum of 9 liters. Finally, you can adjust the handlebar to adapt it to your height.

If you want a quick and cost-effective manual fertilizer spreader, then this model will satisfy you 100%. You can also adjust the quantities of product to be dispensed using a convenient control located on the handlebar, and even if it has a “plasticky” appearance, in reality the trolley is very resistant.

Excellent marks also for the distribution system, precise and functional, while the wheels are not that great. But at this price it is really hard to ask for more.


  • Great range coverage
  • The delivery can be adjusted
  • The handlebar can be adjusted in height
  • Also excellent for seeds
  • Distributes the product evenly
  • Ideal for hobby use


  • A little light plastic wheels
  • It does not absorb vibrations when pushing

2. Texas Centrifugal Fertilizer Spreader 25 Liters

In the field of manure spreading trolleys, this is probably one of the best around. The Texas model, in fact, has a very good range (2 meters maximum) and a body capacity of 25 liters. It also mounts wheels with treaded tires, which improve grip on the ground, and which absorb the vibrations produced by the ground when moving on the lawn.

No products found.

  • Trolley model
  • Wheels equipped with tires
  • Range of up to 2 meters
  • Hopper capacity: 25 liters
  • You can adjust the dosage of the fertilizer

Yes, it costs more than a manual spreader cart with plastic wheels, but there is a reason. The tires, in fact, guarantee a total absorption of vibrations during movements, and this improves the precision of the spreading, keeping the quantity of fertilizer distributed uniform.

The delivery, among other things, can be easily adjusted, and the upper lever allows you to open and close the holes without problems.

Note of merit also for the capacity of the hopper and for the range maximum, together with versatility, since you can also use this tool to spread the salt. The instrument is really sturdy, withstands excellent shocks and is made of anti-corrosion materials.

It is suitable for large fields, as it performs very well on land from 1,000 to 2,000 square meters. The only flaws are the instruction booklet not in Italian and the assembly, which takes some time.


  • Model with tires
  • Absorbs vibrations great
  • You can also use it with antifreeze salt
  • High range and capacity
  • You can fertilize wide lawns in 10 minutes
  • Very sturdy and resistant body


  • There are no instructions in Italian
  • Assembly is not quick

3. Gardena M Manual Fertilizer Spreader with Crank

Here we are in front of the best crank fertilizer spreader, with a range from a minimum of 1 meter to a maximum of 4 meters. It is a bucket model, therefore without wheels and with a central handle. It is unsuitable for fertilizing large lawns, but is perfect for medium to small gardens. The bucket has a capacity of 1.8 liters, enough to cover approximately 100 square meters on a single charge.

  • Crank model
  • Range from 1 to 4 meters
  • 1.8 liter capacity
  • Fertilize 100 square meters with 1 charge
  • Product quantity adjustment
  • Very easy to use

One of the main advantages is the great precision of the rotating plate, together with the possibility of regulating the quantity of product dispensed. In this way you can adapt it even to the smallest lawns, thus avoiding spreading the fertilizer in an uneven way.

With a single charge it can cover about 100 square meters, and operation is quick and immediate, since you just need to use the side crank. Finally, the bucket handle is ergonomic and houses all the basic controls.

The opening and closing of the nozzles is done by pressing the button on the ergonomic handle with the thumb, which also ensures a firm and comfortable grip. The range must be adjusted manually, by moving the crank at different speeds, so there is no automatic system.

The quantity to be dispensed, on the other hand, must be set by acting on the lever located in front of the handle, and the available levels are 4. It is also compatible with antifreeze salt, but it is not very convenient for sowing.


  • Very easy to use
  • You can adjust the quantities of product
  • Ergonomic handle
  • You can also use it with antifreeze salt
  • Covers up to 100m2 with 1 charge
  • Range up to 4 meters

4. Wolf-Garten 5450000 WE 430 Perfekt Spreader

I would also like to introduce you to this fertilizer spreader for vineyards and lawns from Wolf-Garten, a well-known German company specializing in gardening tools. It is a model with a low and rectangular body, and with a drop system, therefore without a rotating disc. The hopper has a capacity of 20 liters, while the base has a width of 43 centimeters, so it is very wide.

  • Low drop model
  • 20 liter capacity
  • Width from 43 centimeters
  • Adjustment lever on the handlebar
  • Extendable handle

The adjustment mechanism is particular, as it is activated by acting on the central cylinder connected to the steel cable. The cylinder, being numbered, allows the user to choose the most suitable value for their needs, even if it takes a little practice to be able to master it.

Furthermore, the opening and closing of the window hole of the hopper takes place by turning the cylinder clockwise or counterclockwise. Also consider that it has a comfortable height-adjustable handlebar.

The versatility factor is also excellent, considering that you can use it both to fertilize the lawn and for sowing operations. The instrument is very easy to assemble but, as mentioned, for the adjustment and calibration of the seeds it is necessary to “tinker” a bit, before finding the right compromise.

On the other hand, once you get the hang of it, this fertilizer spreader allows you to speed up times a lot, and save a lot of effort.


  • Wide working width
  • Good overall capacity
  • High quality materials
  • You can use it for fertilizing and sowing
  • Adjustment system on the handle


  • The adjustment takes a little practice

How to choose the fertilizer spreader

1. Range of the throw

I have already told you that the range is a key factor, as it determines the square footage of the lawn that you will be able to cover. In summary, the higher this value, the more time you will save going around with your fertilizer spreader trolley for vineyards, lawns, gardens and vegetable gardens. In the most advanced wheelbarrow models, the range is around 2 or 3 meters: this means that you will be able to fertilize a garden of about 2,000 or 3,000 square meters in just 10 minutes.

2. Presence of dividers

Almost all models of manual fertilizer spreader have holes with a mechanism called a shutter. This is a system that allows you to limit the range of your trolley, in case you do not have a particularly large lawn. The presence of the dividers makes the tool much more versatile, because you can use it both for medium-large lawns, and for small vegetable gardens or gardens, without the risk of “shooting” the fertilizer too far.

3. Ease of use

All trolleys of this type are designed to guarantee the user a high level of comfort and minimal energy expenditure. Then there are elements that increase the comfort factor, such as the ergonomic grips in the free rotation models, and the height-adjustable handle in the wheelbarrows. It is also important that the lever for regulating the flow (opening and closing) is easy to activate, and therefore easy to reach with the hand.

4. Versatility

Almost all trolleys and box models are super versatile, because you can use them not only for fertilizing, but also as spreaders and salt spreaders. In the case of salt, however, it is important that the body and the plate mechanisms have been made of anti-corrosion materials. If not, I do not recommend using them to melt snow and ice, as they could break. Some trolleys even allow you to spread pesticide and herbicide products.

5. Working width

This applies only to the models of manual fertilizer spreader with rectangular and low box, that is with the trolleys born mainly to facilitate sowing. Since in this case the rotating plate is absent, the product falls directly on the grass, following the holes along the base. Usually the latter is about 40 centimeters wide, and has a capacity of around 16-20 liters.

How to use a spreader cart

There is a mistake that many make, and it is the following: open it when you are still stationary. If you do this, the fertilizer spreader will cause the product to fall on the plate, but the grains will accumulate on the disc, because it still does not turn. And when you leave, the target will shoot everything it has collected from a standstill around the area, causing accumulations of fertilizer and the danger of burning the lawn.

Consequently, the lever for opening the holes should only be activated when you start moving with the wheelbarrow, interrupting the fertilization when you stop. Secondly, to avoid uneven spreading, I use the overlapping technique. In practice, if the trolley has a range of 2 meters, after the first pass I move to the side by taking 2 or 3 steps, so as to cover more or less that distance, and I start again.

In this way I know for sure that the fertilizer will be spread evenly, without throwing it again on the areas I have already covered. Finally, remember that after each use the wheelbarrow tank must be cleaned, and the holes cleared of debris, since in some cases the holes in the bottom of the hopper could clog up due to accumulations.


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