Best Tow Spreaders

Although venturing into the sun-blanched field with nothing but a heart full of positivity, willing hands, and a hessian sack full of seeds may seem quite pleasant, it’s not always realistic.

If you need to cover some serious ground and sew hundreds of thousands of seeds, a tow spreader is the only practical option.

You can pull them along with your tractor or ATV and make the soil of an entire landscape fertile in a single day.

That’s some pretty impressive life-giving potential. Spreading all those seeds by hand would take weeks, if not months.

It’s alright if the weather’s nice and you only have a small amount of land to cover, but if you own many an acre, it’s a grueling, thankless job.

So, to save you from a life of grassy martyrdom, we’ve composed five reviews of the very best tow spreaders currently available.

We’ll be considering price tag, build quality, capacity...everything you need to know.

We’ll even ride on through an in-depth buyer’s guide and brief FAQ section to make sure you’re ready to buy with confidence.

Here’s our top pick right here so you can get on with what’s important.

OUR TOP PICK

Agri-Fab 45-0463 130-Pound Tow Behind Broadcast Spreader

Proving the grass is greener on the other side, our number one spreader is the perfect bit of gear to maximize your productivity and make your life a whole lot easier.

The expansive 130 pound hopper and 12 foot spread range will cover around 25000 feet in one go. That’s half an acre done in one sitting.

If you have large acreage lawns or farms, this spreader will have the job done in a matter of hours.

It doesn’t just do your job for you, it does it with aplomb. The enclosed gearbox and tapered gears provide an amazingly even spread and they’re so well housed, you can expect optimal functioning for years to come.

It’s sold with an optional grate accessory that smooths out material flow for an even more impressive performance.

Taking a look at the wheels, you can tell Agri-Fab have put a lot of thought into the functionality of this spreader.

They’re a wide base, pneumatic design with large diameter tires that are nice and stable on rough terrains such as uneven surfaces or rock-strewn land.

The tire tread is just aggressive enough to provide maximum non-invasive traction.

It’s also incredibly easy to use. You simply pull or push the direct steel rod flow control, easily reached from your seated position to open or shut the broadcaster during a spread.

Hitching this thing up to your tractor should be a breeze as well as it features a universal tow connection.

The Agri-Fab is your one-stop all-season broadcasting mega machine.

You’ll find use for it year-round, and when winter arrives, use the included user’s manual and instructional video for some light maintenance to prepare it for action in the coming spring.

Pros

  • Large hopper capacity covers 25000 feet in one go

  • Easily controlled with long steel rod that can be reached from your seated position

  • Universal hitch connection will fit your vehicle

  • Thick pneumatic wheels provide durability

  • Wide diameter tires provide non-invasive grip and make it safe to use on tough terrain

  • Perfect for fertilizing, weed control, pest control and other applications

  • Affordable

Cons

  • Weather protection cover sold separately

EDITORS CHOICE

Brinly BS36BH, 175 lb, Black Tow-Behind Broadcast Spreader

Our second pick is an awesome machine designed for use in even larger areas.

The 175 pound capacity for seed, fertilizer, ice-melt, or any other granular materials means enhanced productivity, so you can get the job done faster than ever. 

This spreader also has an intelligent motion stop-control system. It recognizes when you stop your vehicle and halts dispersion to eliminate waste or burns.

The calibration gear stick is easily reached from your tractor and gives you precise control over the type of spread and access to a simple manual on/off function.

It also features a setting lock to ensure a consistent spread during the entire task.

One of the things we love about this design is the patented directional spread pattern.

This proprietary design makes for more consistent full coverage and maximizes spread width, expediting the whole experience.

Let’s take a quick look at the gear system on this beast. The gearbox is fully enclosed protecting it from the elements and the granular materials.

The gears themselves are glass-filled nylon, perfect for smooth, long-term, heavy duty usage.

Some customers claim that it’s a little bit top heavy for use on gradients, but a decent cover will prevent waste in the event of a tilt or topple.

It’s also been mentioned that the instruction manual could be a little bit clearer.

This is the perfect broadcast spreader for any land one acre in size or above, so whether you have a large garden or a more commercial application in mind, you’re covered.

Connect it up to pretty much any ATV or UTV with the universal hitch attachment and set out with confidence.

Pros

  • Automatic stop system prevents waste or burns

  • Top quality glass and nylon gears

  • Huge 175 pound hopper for more efficient work

  • Universal hitch pin

  • Innovative directional spread pattern

  • Great gear control with lock function reachable from your seat

  • 12 foot spread width

Cons

  • A little bit top heavy

  • Tires aren’t as impressive as our top pick

  • Expensive

  • Bad instructions

BEST VALUE

Agri-Fab 45-0288 175-Pound Max Tow Behind Drop Spreader, Black

We realize that not all of you will be looking for broadcast spreaders, so bringing a little bit of versatility and precision to our list is a fantastic drop spreader with an impressive capacity.

Here you have the same 175 pound capacity as our number two pick, but thanks to the precision placement of drop spreaders, you can expect to cover roughly 40000 square feet. That’s one whole acre without ever stopping for a refill.

You can expect a much slower process with a drop feeder, but you also get impeccable accuracy.

You can look forward to 42 inches of controlled spread with this particular rustproof hopper. Pretty impressive if you ask us.

You can also expect a galvanized steel agitator and steel rod height control that lifts the dropper to navigate uneven surfaces and lowers it for greater accuracy.

Just like it’s little broadcaster sibling in our number one spot, it has some really thick and sturdy pneumatic wheels fitted with wide grippy tires that’ll keep everything nice and stable, even on questionable surfaces.

Putting the cherry on top, assembly should be really easy with this spreader as it comes with the same well thought out instructional videos and user manual as our number one choice.

Pros

  • 175 pound hopper will cover an entire acre in one sitting

  • Steel agitator

  • 42 inches wide spread

  • Awesome pneumatic wheels and solid tires

  • Great instructions for setup

  • Affordable

Cons

  • Not as fast as a broadcast spreader

RUNNER UP

Craftsman CMXGZBF7124571 110-lb Tow Broadcast Spreader, Black

Giving our number four spot a beautiful and healthy green luster is a spreader perfect for smaller applications.

With a 110 pound capacity hopper and a maximum 10 foot spread width, you can expect to cover around ⅓ of an acre without pausing to refill.

The pneumatic wheels and thick 10” tires should keep you stable on most surfaces as well. It has what we’d call a medium profile, so there shouldn’t be any risk of toppling on a gradient.

The hopper and spreader plate are completely rustproof, so feel free to get out there in the elements and get the job done.

It also has a heavy duty steel construction gear and axle, and a heat-treated sprocket for longer usage. 

Like our other broadcasters, it has a universal hitch pin and a dedicated on/off control accessible from your seated position, which makes for some seamless sewing.

This model is on the smaller end of large application spreading. It could still be used for smaller commercial areas, but it will excel on medium sized property.

Pros

  • Covers ⅓ of an acre in one sitting

  • Affordable

  • Quality components ensure long lifespan

  • Heat-treated gear and sprocket 

  • 10 foot spread width

  • Pneumatic wheels with impressive tires for stability

  • Medium profile reduces the risk of toppling or spillage

  • On/off control accessible from your seat

Cons

  • Not suitable for larger areas

  • Less articulate gear system

RUNNER UP

Agri-Fab 85 lb. Tow Broadcast Spreader 45-0530 85 lb. Tow Broadcast Spreader, One Size, Black

For our coup de grass (see what we did there), fitting snugly into the list is a lovely little spreader for those looking for something to use on their medium to large sized lawns.

The 85 pound hopper capacity will easily cover 14000 square feet or ¼ of an acre, making this the perfect spreader for home use. It’s incredibly compact, lending itself to neat and easy storage and ease of use.

Despite its size, this little Agri-Fab spreader still comes with the company standard pneumatic wheels and some really impressive thick tires.

This may be even more beneficial to garden spreading, over farmland spreading as gardens often follow an inconsistent gradient.

The build quality is really impressive. You have the strong steel tube frame, rustproof poly hopper and spread plate, and a completely enclosed gearbox.

A reliable cable flow control allows you to easily start and stop the spreading process.

Thanks to Agri-Fab’s generous customer care, you get the same instructional videos and user manuals to ensure a snappy, eventless construction, and proper usage.

Pros

  • ¼ acre capacity is perfect for garden lawns

  • Size makes it very easy to store

  • Weight makes it easy to maneuver and set up

  • Affordable

  • Pneumatic wheel and thick tires keep you stable

  • Enclosed gearbox

  • Solid build quality

  • Universal hitch connection

Cons

  • Not suitable for larger or commercial land

Best Tow Spreaders Buying Guide

Let’s discuss some of the features that make a tow spreader good so you can be well prepared for the coming spring.

Budget

Having a budget will help you when choosing your new tow spreader; however, each size range will have pretty similar prices.

Drop or Broadcast

The main difference between a drop and broadcast spreader is precision placement.

A broadcast spreader shoots out the granules, dispersing them over a wide area, whereas a drop spreader lets the granules fall directly below for a more controlled and localized spread.

Broadcast spreaders tend to get the job done much faster than drop spreaders as they cover more ground, but you’re more likely to have bare spots.

Hopper Capacity

The hopper is the main bucket that holds the granules. The larger the hopper capacity the more ground you’re going to be able to cover without returning to base and refilling.

If you have large acreage land, you should be looking for a spreader that can cover at least half an acre in one sitting.

This translates to around 130 pounds worth of hopper space. You may even want to go larger. Some 175 pound capacity spreaders will be able to cover an entire acre in one sitting.

If you just need something for a small amount of land, you could save a bit of money by choosing a spreader with an 85 pound hopper size. That works out as roughly ¼ of an acre.

Spread Width

Spread width is the maximum distance a broadcast spreader can project granules, or for a drop spreader, how wide it will drop the granules.

If you need to cover larger areas, a larger spread width will speed things up exponentially. In a smaller more oddly shaped area, a wide spread width might be unnecessary.

Gearbox

The gearbox of a spreader is pivotal. Lots of particulate material is their worst nightmare.

The best spreaders have completely enclosed gear systems. This protects them from clogging up with granules and keeps them safe from the weather.

The gears themselves should be made from durable and high functioning materials.

Controls

Controls will vary depending on the kind of spreader you’re looking for, but they should always be accessible, easy to use, and offer a greater control over the spread.

More expansive designs used for commercial or large acreage gardens should always have controls that can be reached from your seated position. This means you have full control over the spread as you go, getting the job done as fast as possible.

Note that controls may not be accessible during use if you're towing the spreader with an ATV as they’re designed for use with small tractors.

These controls can be as simple as an on/off function, or they might let you choose between gears and have locking functions.

Smaller models might have slightly different or less articulate controls. You may have to leave your vehicle to reach them.

As long as you have a  big enough space, we recommend getting a spreader with controls you can access from your vehicle. This makes the most of a tow design.

If access to controls as your drive doesn’t matter to you, perhaps a hand drawn spreader would better suit your needs.

Profile

It’s important to assess the profile of a spreader to give you an idea of how it will perform on gradients or bumpy surfaces.

If the hoper sits too high it runs the risk of being a bit top heavy. This could cause spillages or toppling.

Wheels and Tires

Sturdy, well designed wheels are essential criteria for a tow spreader. They’re going to be carrying heavy loads year round over what could be quite treacherous terrain.

A robust wheel will help steady the spreader for even dispersion.

Tires are equally as important. They need to have strong grip patterns for traction on soft and hard surfaces.

If the grip pattern is too aggressive, it will be invasive and damaging to the land you’re trying to nurture.

Durability

The best spreaders are incredibly durable.

They have tubular steel frames and rust-resistant components so they can be used in all weather conditions.

It’s always good to check if the hopper is rustproof and any spreader grates can handle moisture and heat.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a spreader for topsoil?

You can use a spreader for spreading topsoil if you like, but it’s going to be a long and difficult process.

You can expect quite a few jams, even if your topsoil is thoroughly and finely screened.

How many times a year should I fertilize my lawn?

For the average lawn, twice a year with the gap of at least a month between treatments will suffice.

If you want your grass to look good enough to eat, you can fertilize it every 6 to 8 weeks during its quickest growing period. 

This requires some pretty strict rationing of the nutrients though, as dropping everything they need every single time will likely do more harm than good.

Can I use a spreader for sand?

Not really. It will take forever and may damage your spreader.

You’re better off doing this by hand using wheelbarrows and rakes.

Can you put down too much grass seed?

Yes, you need to be very careful how you populate your soil. Soil produces a finite amount of nutrients and there’s only so much space.

Too much seed density will cause competition between the seeds post germination as they struggle for sunlight, moisture and nutrients.

Like all plants, their roots need plenty of space to thrive.

Job Done

There you have it, mass cultivators. Five of the very best tow spreaders around.

From gardener to farmer, we think there’s a little bit of something for everyone on this list, and if not, use our buyer’s guide to find the one that slipped through the cracks.

Dan

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