What are the Best Handheld Spreaders? 9 Top Options to Choose From

The secret to a lush, beautiful lawn depends on how much you care for it.

Watering your lawn is perhaps the most basic yet highly important lawn irrigation task, but there are several other factors that play a pivotal role in your lawn’s appearance like spreading the right amount of fertilizer at the right time.

Spreaders are an easy way to spread seed and fertilizer on your lawn and are a great addition to your lawn care arsenal.

There are three different types of spreaders available—broadcast tow-behind spreaders, drop spreaders and handheld spreaders.

A handheld spreader is the most portable and affordable option of the three types and is geared towards small yards, gardens, areas with impending objects, and areas that require precise applications.

Buying the best handheld spreader can be a bit overwhelming, given the sea of products available. But I’ve checked out several options, and bring you the lowdown on the 9 best handheld spreaders.

In a rush? These are the ones I recommend. But keep reading if you want more info on each.

CLICK on any option below to see Ratings and Reviews on Amazon

Best Budget
Scotts Whirl Hand-Powered Spreader, Brown/A, 1.5 M (N/A)
Best for Arm Support
Expert Gardener Hand Held Seed Spreader
Best for Any Material
TIPU Hand Spreader Shaker, Handheld Spreader for Grass Seed,...
Scotts Whirl Hand-Powered Spreader
Expert Gardener Handheld Spreader
TIPU Hand Spreader Shaker
  • Perfect for small yards
  • Adjustable arm support
  • Holds material to spread over 1500 square feet
  • Spreads material evenly
  • Comes fully assembled
  • Solid plastic
  • Capacity of 6 lbs
  • Cover 1100 square feet area
  • Lightweight at 1.32 lbs
  • Used on all types of terrain
  • Great flow rate
  • 3 adjustable openings
  • Easy to use
  • Provides accurate coverage
  • Made from solid plastic
  • 80-ounce capacity
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Great option for narrow spaces
Best Budget
Scotts Whirl Hand-Powered Spreader, Brown/A, 1.5 M (N/A)
Scotts Whirl Hand-Powered Spreader
  • Perfect for small yards
  • Adjustable arm support
  • Holds material to spread over 1500 square feet
  • Spreads material evenly
  • Comes fully assembled
Best for Arm Support
Expert Gardener Hand Held Seed Spreader
Expert Gardener Handheld Spreader
  • Solid plastic
  • Capacity of 6 lbs
  • Cover 1100 square feet area
  • Lightweight at 1.32 lbs
  • Used on all types of terrain
  • Great flow rate
Best for Any Material
TIPU Hand Spreader Shaker, Handheld Spreader for Grass Seed,...
TIPU Hand Spreader Shaker
  • 3 adjustable openings
  • Easy to use
  • Provides accurate coverage
  • Made from solid plastic
  • 80-ounce capacity
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Great option for narrow spaces

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I’ve also included a handy handheld spreader buying guide to help you choose the right one for your needs.

9 Best Handheld Spreaders

1. Scotts Whirl Hand-Powered Spreader – Best Budget Handheld Spreader for Medium Size Lawns 

Best Budget Handheld Spreader for Medium Size Lawns

This is my favorite handheld spreader and here’s why!

The Scotts Whirl handheld spreader has been my favorite handheld fertilizer and seed spreader for years and is a perfect choice for small to medium size yards.

It can hold material to spread over 1500 square feet of lawn and can be used with fertilizer, seeds, and even for applying ice melt.

Adding to this, the Scotts Whirl handheld spreader is fitted with an adjustable arm support to prevent strain, and for maximum comfort during use. It spreads material evenly and arrives fully assembled, so you can get started right out of the box.

Pros:

  • Perfect for small yards
  • Adjustable arm support
  • Holds material to spread over 1500 square feet
  • Spreads material evenly
  • Comes fully assembled

Cons:

  • Doesn’t come with a carrying case

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2. Expert Gardener Handheld Spreader – Best Handheld Spreader with Arm Support 

Best Handheld Spreader with Arm Support 

The Expert Gardener slots in at the #2 position on this list of best hand spreaders for several great reasons, starting with its fairly large size hopper that can hold up to 6 lbs of material to cover 1100 square feet area. 

It is a great model for spreading fertilizer, and boasts smooth operation, even distribution, making it easy to spread seed and fertilizer in tight spaces. 

The Expert Gardener handheld spreader doesn’t come with shoulder straps or tires to drag it around, but is lightweight at just 1.32 lbs, and comes with a comfortable handle. This handheld spreader offers a three feet swath and is made from solid plastic. 

Pros: 

  • Solid plastic lever and poly hopper 
  • Hopper holds 6 lbs of material to cover 1100 square feet area
  • Lightweight at 1.32 lbs 
  • Can be used on all types of terrain including uneven terrain
  • Great flow rate

Cons:

  • Not made from steel 
  • Lacks adjustable cone nozzle 

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3. TIPU Hand Spreader Shaker – Best Handheld Spreader for Any Material 

Best Handheld Spreader for Any Material 

The TIPU handheld spreader is my personal favorite for several reasons, starting with its three adjustable openings that allow you to control the spread of material. Furthermore, this hand fertilizer sprayer provides great coverage for its size and features an easy-to-use design, where you simply twist the lid, fill the container with material, screw the lid back on, and spread material at hand-cranking speed. 

Another standout feature of the TIPU handheld spreader is its solid plastic craftsmanship, and its ability to hold up to 80 ounces of material at a time. It doesn’t come with adjustable shoulder straps, but is topped with an ergonomic handle, and is backed by a lifetime manufacturer warranty. 

Pros: 

  • 3 adjustable openings in the broadcasting plate 
  • Easy to use to fertilize in spring
  • Provides accurate coverage 
  • Made from solid plastic 
  • 80-ounce capacity 
  • Ergonomic handle 
  • A great option for narrow spaces 

Cons: 

  • Not recommended for spreading harsh chemicals such as for weed management
TIPU Hand Spreader Shaker, Handheld Spreader for Grass Seed,...
795 Reviews
TIPU Hand Spreader Shaker, Handheld Spreader for Grass Seed,...
  • Efficient Use - No more over spray and wasted Grass Seed/Fertilizer/Ice Melt/De-Icer/ during any season. Effortlessly spread salt on driveways & walkways.
  • Versatility- 3 Adjustable Openings for spreading any material you need. No need to charge anything or replace batteries.
  • Easy to Use- Twist open the lid, fill the garden Spreader, screw the lid back on, and spread as Much as You Like.

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4. Brinly HHS3-5BH Handheld Spreader – Best Affordable Handheld Spreader

Best Affordable Handheld Spreader

For a handheld spreader that offers an excellent handle-cranking speed, the Brinly handheld spreader is hard to beat. It offers a comfortable grip and comes with a 5 lbs capacity hopper, which allows you to spread more material at a time. 

Adding to this, the Brinly handheld features a reinforced contoured lip, which makes it easy and quick to fill the hopper. It comes with a control lever to adjust the 5-foot broadcast control rate. 

The Brinly handheld spreader can be used to spread fertilizer, ice melt, and boasts a lightweight design of 1.5 lbs. 

In terms of construction, the Brinly handheld spreader doesn’t disappoint with its heavy-duty, durable poly hopper that arrives complete with enclosed gears and sturdy steel-plated hardware. 

Pros: 

  • Perfect choice for application of seed, granular fertilizer, and much more 
  • Affordable price tag 
  • Lightweight and sturdy design 
  • Year-round use 
  • 5 lbs hopper capacity 
  • Adjustable flow gate and 5 square footage spreading width 

Cons: 

  • Limited to 1 color option 
Brinly HHS3-5BH 5lb. All-Season Handheld Spreader with Easy-Fill...
19 Reviews
Brinly HHS3-5BH 5lb. All-Season Handheld Spreader with Easy-Fill...
  • 5 lb. Capacity: Holds up to .5 gal / 2 L of spread material. Ideal for small or hard-to-reach areas, including sidewalks, side yards, flower beds, and more.
  • Just Scoop and Spread: Reinforced contoured lip shape makes filling quick and easy. Variable flow spreads material up to 5 ft.
  • Adjustable Flow Gate: Simple knob adjustment to change material flow. The extra-long crank and ergonomic trigger handle makes spreading any material quick and easy.

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5. Spot Spreader Hand Spreader – Best Handheld Spreader for Fertilizer

Best Handheld Spreader for Fertilizer

The spot spreader handheld spreader is billed as the most efficient and sturdy product in its segment, and after using it for a while, this isn’t an understatement. 

It is easy to use and comes with a convenient screw top for the hopper, making it easy to refill the spreader.

The Spot Spreader handheld spreader doesn’t take a lot of storage space and features multiple adjustable openings, so you can spread any material at the right application rates in your lawn and garden. It features an ergonomic design and comes with a lifetime warranty against any manufacturer defects. 

Pros: 

  • Convenient screw top hopper 
  • Great for applying fertilizer in spring for a lush yard 
  • Multiple adjustable openings for different size materials
  • Weighs a little over 1 lb 
  • Lifetime warranty 

Cons: 

  • Quality of handgrip could be improved
Spot Spreader Hand Spreader Shaker for Seed, Salt, De-Icer, Ice...
1,814 Reviews
Spot Spreader Hand Spreader Shaker for Seed, Salt, De-Icer, Ice...
  • Strong * Durable * Easy to Use * Simply Pour Your Materials from the Larger Bag into the Screw Top Container and Spread as Much as You Like
  • Perfect For Pouring Large Salt & Seed Bags in the Spot Spreader * Efficient Use * Lightweight * Stores Easily with Strong Handle
  • No More Over Spray and Wasted Salt/Seed/Fertilizer * No More Stray Grass from Crank Spreaders * Easy to Salt Driveways & Walkways

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6. HBC Rotary Hand Spreader – Best Handheld Spreader for Uniform Coverage

Best Handheld Spreader for Uniform Coverage

The HBC rotary handheld spreader provides precise product coverage, and although it doesn’t come with any fancy features such as a fold-down handle or similar additional features, it does indeed make spreading a whole lot easier. 

It can be used to spread seed, fertilizer, and ice melt, and can hold up to an impressive 1000 square feet of product, so you can tackle a larger part of your lawn in one go. 

The HBC rotary hand spreader boasts high-quality construction and is equipped with an ergonomic handle, making it a joy to use for longer periods. It arrives fully assembled, is easy to use and clean. 

Pros: 

  • Ergonomic handle 
  • Can hold 1000 square foot of product 
  • High quality construction 
  • Fully assembled 
  • Easy to use and clean 

Cons: 

  • Wheel can be difficult to turn at times
HBC Rotary Hand Spreader for Lawn and Garden
74 Reviews
HBC Rotary Hand Spreader for Lawn and Garden
  • SIMPLE AND EASY SPREADING: Make seeding and fertilizing your lawn and garden simple and easy with the HBC Rotary Hand Spreader. It allows you to get just the right amount of product on each part of your lawn with half the work
  • PERFECT FOR ALL OF YOUR PURPOSES: No matter what needs spreading outdoors, you can use your favorite tools. Spread seeds, fertilizer, or even ice melt on those winter days. You’ll find a use for this spreader in every season, every year
  • HOLDS 1000 SQ FT: The Rotary Hand Spreader from HBC is perfect even when you have to work on the whole lawn or garden. The spreader holds up to 1000 square foot of product so you can tackle a whole part of your lawn at once

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7. Gardena Handheld Spreader – Best Multipurpose Handheld Spreader

Field King Professional backpack sprayer

The Gardena handheld spreader can be used to spread a wide range of materials including ice melt, fertilizer, and seeds, and features a twist-locking lid for easy refills. Adding to this, it offers a 1.3-liter capacity and weighs just 1 lb.  

The Gardena handheld spreader comes with a long handle for a good grip and is made from premium quality plastic. 

Pros: 

  • Made from premium plastic 
  • Long comfort grip handle 
  • Weighs one pound 
  • 1.3 liter capacity 
  • Can be used with harsh chemicals and agricultural chemicals 

Cons: 

  • Lacks shoulder strap 
  • Not a good choice for large size lawns or non-lawn areas 
Gardena Handheld Multipurpose Spreader. Ice melt, Grass Seed,...
  • In Winter - Effortlessly spread sand or salt to deice your sidewalk or driveway. In Spring or Summer fill it with grass seeds to use as a seed spreader or fertilizer. Now you spread without getting your hands dirty.
  • Ice melt, grass seed, fertilizer, pool chemicals, Animal feed and even more
  • To use your handheld spreader, you simply twist off the lid and fill the spreader with any material you wish to use. Then you screw the lid back on and spread as much as you like on the areas that need it most. It can be turned comfortably even with thick gloves.

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8. Precision Products Handheld Spreader – Best Handheld Spreader for Small Areas

Best Handheld Spreader for Small Areas

The Precision Products handheld spreader is an ideal choice for small areas and features a spreading pattern between 6 feet to 9 feet. 

It is easy to operate and comes with an ergonomic handgrip. Additionally, the Precision Products handheld model spreader comes with an easy-to-fill and pour scoop, and is fitted with a fingertip slide control for efficient material flow control. 

Pros:

  • Spreading pattern between 6 feet to 9 feet 
  • Great for narrow spaces 
  • Ergonomic hand grip 
  • Easy to fill and pour scoop 
  • Fingertip slide control 

 Cons: 

  • Small hopper size requires frequent filling
PRECISION PRODUCTS HHBS-125 Handheld Broadcast Spreader
149 Reviews
PRECISION PRODUCTS HHBS-125 Handheld Broadcast Spreader
  • Handheld broadcast spreader ideal for small lawns, hills, uneven ground or wet terrain
  • Scoop for easy filling and pouring of material; easy to operate with ergonomic hand grip and finger tip slide control
  • Heavy duty plastic body but light weight for easy handling

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9. Scotts Wizz Handheld Spreader – Best Battery Operated Handheld Spreader 

Best Battery Operated Handheld Spreader 

The Scotts Wizz is possibly the most advanced handheld spreader available in its segment and comes with an array of features. Powered by 4 AA batteries, this handheld spreader can be used all year round, and for spreading lawn fertilizer, grass seed, and weed killer products. 

It can be ordered in a choice of one-pack or four-pack, and when fully refilled can cover up to a whopping 2,000 square feet. The Scotts Wizz handheld spreader can broadcast up to 5 feet and features a total of 23 settings for unmatched accuracy. 

Pros: 

  • Battery-powered spreader
  • Can cover up to 2,000 square feet 
  • Broadcasts up to 5 feet 
  • 23 settings 
  • EdgeGuard technology prevents material from spreading in non-desired areas
  • Lightweight design 

Cons: 

  • Batteries not included
Scotts Wizz Hand-Held Spreader
9,547 Reviews
Scotts Wizz Hand-Held Spreader
  • Battery-powered spreader you can use year round—designed to spread grass seed, lawn fertilizer and weed control products
  • Designed to cover up to 2, 500 sq. ft. using Scotts lawn care product
  • 5-foot broadcast with control of EdgeGuard Technology

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How I Rated the 9 Best Handheld Spreaders? Handheld Spreader Buying Guide

I rated the 8 best handheld spreaders on three important factors-capacity, build quality, and performance. 

Capacity 

Most, if not all handheld spreaders don’t come with a large-size hopper, but the best models can hold enough material to spread materials over 2000 square feet of space. 

As I mentioned earlier, handheld spreaders aren’t designed for massive size lawns, for which you should buy a tow-behind spreader or push spreader that comes with tires, so small capacity hoppers are acceptable in this segment. 

Read My Review of the Best Tow-Behind Spreaders 

Gardener holding a handheld fertilizer spreader

Build Quality 

Handheld spreaders are made from solid plastic like the Scotts Wizz and do not contain any metal components, which is perhaps why they are extremely lightweight. 

A good handheld spreader should be made from robust quality plastic, and come with a broadcasting plate with holes for adjustable flow rate. 

Performance

Although handheld spreaders are fairly inexpensive lawn products, you should steer clear from cheap handheld spreaders, because they are usually made from poor quality material, and don’t come with a comfort grip. 

The faster your hand-cranking speed, the faster you will be able to spread seeds and fertilizer across your lawn. 

Garden Worker with Handheld Seeder

Why Do You Need a Handheld Spreader?

You actually do not need any type of spreader to spread fertilizer or other types of material. But hand spreading material isn’t recommended, because there will most likely be gaps in coverage, which will result in bare patches in your lawn. 

When on the shopping trail for the best spreader, you’ll find that there are several different types available including larger models like a tow-behind model and spreaders with air tires. 

These spreaders however are a great choice for large size lawns and do not provide great accuracy, because they broadcast material in a wide 12-foot swath width. 

If you have a small size lawn, a handheld spreader is your go-to affordable and portable option. Handheld spreaders are lightweight, given that they lack many components of other types of spreaders like 13-inch pneumatic tires, and are often already pre-assembled in the box. 

Adding to this, handheld spreaders are easy to use with the onboard hand crank, and some models are even battery-powered. 

Garden Worker Preparing Grass Fertilizer

Which One Should You Consider – Automatic or manual Handheld Spreader? 

Well, this boils to personal choice, but manually spreaders require you to turn the hand crank to spread material, whereas automatic handheld spreaders are powered by batteries, and do this task with the push of a button. 

If you suffer from strains, buying an automatic handheld spreader is a great choice. Furthermore, using an automatic handheld spreader than a manual spreader is also a good choice for large size lawns. 

How Do You Use a Handheld Spreader? 

Using a handheld spreader is literally a no-brainer. Before getting started, read the manufacturer instructions to using your respective model. 

  1. Fill the hopper with seed, fertilizer or other material. 
  2. Turn the crank or pull the trigger on a battery-powered handheld spreader while walking at a normal pace in your yard. 
  3. If you stop walking, stop cranking or stop the motor from spinning. 
  4. Make sure you clean and dry your handheld spreader after each use. 
pouring fertilizer into the fertilizer spreader

Final Thoughts

Handheld spreaders are lightweight tools and are an easy way to spread material across small size lawns and narrow spaces. One of their standout features is that they can help you spread material at a consistent pace to achieve universal coverage.