Whether you are de-icing your own driveway or handling numerous commercial accounts, choosing the right spreader can be a daunting task. There are three basic styles of spreaders—insert hopper spreaders, tailgate spreaders and walk-behinds—
each offering specific advantages over the others in terms of specific job applications.
The selection process starts by matching the style of spreader to the specific job. If you are maintaining large parking lots or roadways, an insert hopper spreader or larger capacity tailgate spreader works best. The larger the capacity, the more material you can load without having to go back and refill the unit, which costs time and money, especially if your accounts are far away.
When selecting a larger capacity hopper insert or tailgate spreader, confirm that your truck can handle the load. Make sure the spreader, when fully loaded, does not exceed the gross weight axle rating or the rear axle weight rating of your vehicle. Obviously, the larger the capacity, the heavier the spreader will be fully loaded.
If your de-icing jobs are limited to driveways or smaller parking lots, try a small- to medium-sized tailgate spreader. If you handle multiple smaller accounts, remember that the larger the capacity, the less frequently you’ll have to return to home base for a refill. On the other hand, you don’t want a spreader with a capacity that is so large that you have to empty a lot of material after a snow event. But remember, hauling more material can contribute to higher fuel costs as well.
Naturally, upfront costs should also figure into the equation. If you do not have primary responsibility for de-icing with your accounts, then a smaller tailgate spreader or walk-behind that can be used for spot jobs might be enough.
Larger insert hopper spreaders require a conveyor system to help feed the chemical or salt to the spinner. Conveyor units can be powered by gas or electric motors. Electric units are generally quieter, which is a plus if you handle residential accounts or work in commercial areas with houses nearby. That’s especially important when working at night.
When purchasing a larger tailgate or insert hopper spreader, figure in maintenance and control of the chemicals applied. An insert hopper spreader has more movable parts, while a tailgate spreader works by gravity. While both styles allow you to control the amount of material being delivered, an insert hopper will give you greater control of the amount of chemical or salt delivered through its control unit. But it may also have increased maintenance costs simply by having more movable parts that need to be serviced or that may malfunction during a snow event.
Smaller walk-behind units work best for individual use, or for commercial use where you need to spread material on close walkways or other hard to reach areas. There are two basic types of walk-behinds; the broadcast spreader and the drop spreader. The former are well suited to jobs with larger coverage requirements, while the latter are better suited to long, narrow walkways or other applications where more precise coverage is required.
Once you’ve determined the style of spreader that works best for you, other important purchase criteria include construction material and design. There are three basic materials used in spreader construction: carbon steel, stainless steel and polyethylene, each one being better than the next when it comes to corrosion resistance. Obviously, corrosion has the most detrimental impact on spreader life.
Also consider the type of material you are applying, whether it is a chemical or salt, and its effectiveness in terms of ice or snow removal.
Taking all that into consideration, it’s now time to evaluate a specific model. A sales professional at an authorized Meyer Products dealer is trained to explain the features and benefits of the company’s extensive lineup of spreaders. Contact an authorized dealer today to help you choose the spreader that’s right for you.
You can also learn about Meyer spreaders in our Full-Line Spreader brochure