How to choose the right salt spreader

Each year, approximately 600,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized from falls caused by snow or ice. This means, when it comes to snow and ice removal, safety is our first objective. The best way to achieve this is to salt wet areas either before or immediately after they freeze. The professionals here at Russo Power Equipment find that using a spreader is the most efficient method to do so. We have broken down the different types in this article to help determine which spreader will work best for you.

Handheld Spreaders: Handheld spreaders are the most inexpensive type and are best used for small-scale application. This type of spreader looks like a canister or bag that broadcasts or fans a small amount of ice-melt or sand by rotating a crank to activate an impeller (a spinning disc which product is dropped onto).

  • Inexpensive alternative to walk behind spreaders
  • Easily used on uneven or narrow terrain
  • Small in size for easy storage
  • Low capacity / application rate

Walk Behind Drop Spreaders: Drop spreaders consist of a hopper (bucket-like bin) with two wheels and a handle for pushing. It allows you to spread ice-melt or sand on the ground directly beneath it. They are ideal if you need to precisely apply product and because they are more exact, are the preferred method if you wish to avoid harming vegetation or other surfaces. By using a drop spreader, you can more easily control the distribution pattern. Drop spreaders are a good choice for sidewalks.

  • Easier to use than broadcast spreader
  • Ideal for applications that need greater accuracy
  • Allows you to maneuver more easily in tight spaces
  • Require more time than broadcast spreaders

Walk Behind Broadcast Spreaders: Broadcast spreaders are similar to drop spreaders in that they consist of a hopper with two wheels and a handle for pushing. The key difference is that they also have an impeller for spreading or broadcasting. As the ice-melt drops, it is thrown in a wide spray pattern so that the margins of each pass overlap each other and provide a more uniform coverage. A steady walking pace needs to be maintained to ensure an even distribution. Best used for driveways and up to medium-sized parking lots.

  • Cover large areas quicker than drop spreaders
  • Require a little more effort and skill to use than drop spreaders
  • Some models offer deflectors to assist with application accuracy
  • More difficult to control around vegetation or other surfaces
Tow Behind Spreader by

Tow-Behind Speaders Tow-behind spreaders are similar to walk behind spreaders, available in both drop or broadcast, but exchange the push handle for a hitch. Like the name implies, instead of being pushed, they are pulled behind a tractor or utility vehicle. Tow-behind spreaders are ideal for many applications such as parking garages, parking lots, courtyards, and campuses.

  • Cover large areas quicker than walk behinds
  • Requires less physical output
  • Easier to utilize when at a higher capacity than walk behinds
  • Requires additional equipment / Less precise

Tailgate Spreaders: Tailgate spreaders are designed to mount to a standard 2-inch receiver hitch on pickups and SUVs, with kits available for ATVs, skid steers and other service vehicles. They have high-capacity hoppers and broadcast ice-melt or sand using an electric powered impeller via a remote inside the cab. These spreaders are ideal for contractors servicing smaller accounts or anyone looking to keep their truck bed open.

  • Attaches to a variety of vehicles
  • Easier to mount to vehicle than in-bed spreaders
  • Electric / Remote operated
  • Requires more refills between jobs than in-bed spreaders

In-Bed Spreaders: In-bed spreaders fit in the beds of utility vehicles, pickups, and large trucks. They have very large carrying capacities and like tailgate spreaders broadcast ice-melt or sand using an electric powered impeller via a remote inside the cab. In-bed spreaders are for snow and ice removal professionals that allow for larger tasks and less refills between jobs.

  • Electric / Remote operated
  • Ideal for professionals and large jobs
  • Very high capacity
  • Occupies vehicle bed / limits tool storage

Did you have questions about spreader types or different brands? Visit one of our Russo Power Equipment locations and speak to our professionals. You can also visit to shop our selection of professional quality spreaders.

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