Grit spreaders and salt spreaders (also known as rock salt spreaders, road gritters and sanders) are tools that help spread salt, grit or horticultural products like seeds, weed killer and fertilizer over a large area. They are great for winter use to spread salt and grit to defrost pathways, store entrances and main roads. Here are a few options to help you find the right grit spreader for you.
The three main types of spreaders are:
1. Push broadcast spreaders
Push broadcast spreaders, also sometimes referred to as pedestrian spreaders or walk- behind spreaders, are manually pushed two-wheeled baskets. They work by means of a rotating disc onto which your grit or salt will fall as you push the spreader along and be cast far and wide. There is a lever on the handle that can help you adjust the flow rate. They are the easiest to use among the different types of spreaders and are perfect for household use.
It is best to look for a stainless steel model with enclosed gearing to prevent corrosion. There are different types of tyres as well. You can choose between solid tyres and pneumatic ones that have a better grip on icy surfaces.
2. Towable spreaders
Towable spreaders work the same way as push broadcast spreaders. The only difference is that you can attach them to a vehicle or tractor and tow them behind rather than pushing them in front. They are great for covering larger areas but not as accurate as v-box spreaders or tailgate spreaders (below).
You can also find models that convert from push spreaders to towable ones, giving you more flexibility on how you use them. Depending on the weather conditions and the use of the spreader this can be quite convenient.
Tailgate spreaders are usually mounted on the bed of a truck, the rear of a vehicle or to the bonnet of a vehicle, which makes them a type of towable spreaders. They are easy to use and can cover a large area. They boast better accuracy than normal towable spreaders.
3. Industrial, vehicle-mounted spreaders
Ideal to mount on 4×4 vehicles, towable trailers and forklift trucks, these spreaders are mainly used for commercial purposes. They are bigger than the normal push and towable ones and include covers to protect their contents from snow and rain. Because of their size they are more suitable for heavy duty spreading work.
V-box spreaders are embedded in the bed of a truck and feature many parts. They are a popular choice among professionals working on larger spreading projects.
Do your research
When you look to buy a grit spreader be careful, as there are some that are suitable only for salt, or for fertiliser. While you can convert a salt spreader to spread fertiliser it makes better sense to choose a model that is more versatile and can do both.
Make sure you maintain your grit spreader properly, following the instructions in the manual. Make sure you change old or damaged parts as appropriate and check the condition of your spreader after each use.
As previously mentioned, make sure you use your spreader with the materials it is designed for. This will prolong its life and keep it in good condition for longer.