Top 10 Best Lawn Fertilizer Reviews for 2020

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If you have watched your lawn droop its way through a hot summer, or if you envy the perfect green of your neighbor’s front yard, it may be time to use lawn fertilizer. This food for your grass, when applied every few weeks throughout the spring and summer, can encourage growth and greenness in your lawn. 

Best Lawn Fertilizer

Buying lawn fertilizer isn’t quite as simple as purchasing the first bag you find in your local garden center, though. Each type has different concentrations of chemicals, different effects on your lawn, and different pros and cons. To help you start sorting through your options, we have created a list of the 10 best lawn fertilizers and some insights into how to choose.  

Top 10 Best Lawn Fertilizers on the Market 2020

Image Product Details
Simple Lawn Solutions Best OverallSimple Lawn Solutions
  • Weight: 3.25 lbs
  • Coverage: 3,200 sq-ft
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Safer Ringer Lawn Restore II Best PremiumSafer Ringer Lawn Restore II
  • Weight: 24.6 lbs
  • Coverage: 5,000 sq -ft
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Espoma All Season Lawn Food Best BudgetEspoma All Season Lawn Food
  • Weight: 20 lbs
  • Coverage: 5,000-sq ft
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Scotts Turf Builder Lawn Food Scotts Turf Builder Lawn Food
  • Weight: 6.25 lbs
  • Coverage: 2,500-sq ft
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Miracle Gro Lawn Food Miracle Gro Lawn Food
  • Weight: 5 lbs
  • Coverage: 4,000-sq ft
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Milorganite 0636 Organic Lawn Fertilizer Milorganite 0636 Organic
  • Weight: 36.7 lbs
  • Coverage: 2,500-sq ft
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Scotts Turf Builder WinterGuard Scotts Turf Builder WinterGuard
  • Weight: 38 lbs
  • Coverage: 5,000-sq ft
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Pennington Signature Series Pennington Signature Series
  • Weight: 15.5 lbs
  • Coverage: 2,500-sq ft
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Scotts Turf Builder Southern Scotts Turf Builder Southern
  • Weight: 14.2 lbs
  • Coverage: 5,000-sq ft
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Dr. Earth Super Natural Lawn Fertilizer Dr. Earth Super Natural
  • Weight: 18 lbs
  • Coverage: 2,000-sq ft
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While there are many lawn fertilizers on the market, they are not all the same. To help you decide, here are the top 10 lawn fertilizers on the market for 2020.

1. Simple Lawn SolutionsBest Overall

Simple Lawn Solutions Review

This 15-0-15 all natural lawn fertilizer that uses food-grade ingredients, including potash. One of its unique ingredients is humic/fulvic acid, which contributes to the lawn’s ability to absorb the nutrients from the soil. As a phosphate-free product, it also poses no risk to waterways and is suitable for use on any grass type in any kind of weather

This lawn fertilizer is, thanks to its all natural ingredients, suitable for use around pets and children. It is intended not just to improve the greenness of the lawn but also to contribute toward its overall health and vitality. One bag can cover up to 3,200 square feet.


  • Uses humic/fulvic acid
  • Phosphate free
  • Child and pet safe 
  • Inexpensive


  • Comes as a spray

2. Safer Ringer Lawn Restore IIBest Premium Product

Safer Ringer Lawn Restore II Review

An organic lawn fertilizer, Safer Ringer Lawn Restore II provides plant-based nutrients that will not burn the grass the way the salt-based nutrients in synthetic fertilizers often do. In addition to protecting the grass, it also keeps pets and children safe with non-toxic ingredients.

In addition to being gentle on grass and safe for kids and pets, this lawn fertilizer is gentle on waterways because it has 0 phosphorous. As a result, it can be used near waterways without causing pollution.

This 10-0-6 fertilizer can be applied about every 8 weeks. Despite being an organic fertilizer, it does not contain manure and does not smell. It is designed to facilitate the growth of beneficial bacteria and fungi that feed the grass. Designed to cover up to 5,000 square feet, one 25-pound bag should be sufficient for at least one application on most lawns. Just be aware that this lawn fertilizer is one of the more expensive options on the market. 


  • Safe for pets and children
  • No odor
  • Suitable for a variety of applications


  • Expensive

3. Espoma All Season Lawn FoodBest Product for Budget

Espoma All Season Lawn Food Review

Espoma All Season Lawn Food provides a 18-0-3 ratio of nutrition to up to 5,000 square feet with a single 20-pound bag. This efficiency combines with pet and child safety and organic ingredients to create a powerful and highly reviewed lawn fertilizer. 

Espoma lawn food, like many organic fertilizers, is slow release. While this usually means it takes longer for the grass to green up, reviewers report that the grass shows a difference quickly while enjoying long-term nutrition. 

One downside to be aware of with this product are an odor when applied. It can be used at any time of the year for a greener lawn. 


  • Pet and child safe
  • No phosphorus
  • Great value


  • Slow release
  • Odor when applied

4. Scotts Turf Builder Lawn Food

Scotts Turf Builder Lawn Food Review

Scotts Turf Builder Lawn Food is not organic, so you will need to measure carefully to avoid burning your lawn. However, like the organic Lawn Restore fertilizer, it does not contain phosphate. As a result, it is safe to use around waterways.

Despite being a synthetic lawn fertilizer, this safe for pets and children. One small bag is significantly cheaper than the Lawn Restore fertilizer, but only covers about 2,500 square feet instead of 5,000. As a result, you may spend the same amount on the Scotts if you need to buy multiple bags to cover a large area. 

This lawn fertilizer contains a high concentration of nitrogen (26-0-3), which contributes to a rich green color. Just be careful not to add too much nitrogen to your grass because an excess of nitrogen can lead to the growth of disease in your grass. 

This Scotts lawn fertilizer uses the company’s All-in-One particles that are supposed to lead to a more even greening. It can be used on any type of grass


  • No phosphorus
  • All-in-One particles
  • Safe for kids and pets


  • Must be used carefully to avoid nitrogen excess
  • Can burn the lawn

5. Miracle Gro Lawn Food

Miracle Gro Lawn Food Review

This 30-0-6 synthetic lawn fertilizer is designed to strengthen and green up turf grasses. The lack of phosphorus also makes it ideal for use near waterways

This lawn fertilizer is water soluble, meaning you can spray it by attaching the bottle to a hose or Miracle Gro sprayer. This feature can make it easier to apply the fertilizer because you do not need to use a spreader to distribute it. It also contains high levels of iron, which are intended to enrich the greenness and growth of the grass.

The one thing you need to be aware of when using this lawn fertilizer is that it may not be sold in certain states due to laws about fertilizers and pollution. 


  • No phosphorus
  • Strong reviews
  • Includes iron


  • Not sold in all states

6. Milorganite 0636 Organic Lawn Fertilizer

Milorganite 0636 Organic Lawn Fertilizer Review

This lawn fertilizer has a 5-4-0 mix of organic materials, including heat-dried microbes. Because it introduces these microbes into the soil, it provides the grass with the organisms and nutrients it needs to thrive naturally, without synthetic chemicals. In addition, this lawn fertilizer uses non-staining iron in combination with the nitrogen to encourage the development of a rich green color. 

Milorganite is proven effective as the fertilizer of choice for many gold courses. Its organic nature makes it less likely to burn grass, while it reduces both the need to water and the need to mow. Because it is organic, it is safe for both kids and pets

Milorganite can be applied to a wide variety of grasses in a wide range of weather conditions. However, one downside to be aware of when using this lawn fertilizer is the fact that it contains phosphorus. As a result, you may be limited in your ability to apply this fertilizer near bodies of water. It also has a slight odor when applied. 

One 36-pound bag covers up to 2,500 square feet and can be applied up to four times in a year. 


  • Proven effectiveness
  • Microbes
  • Non staining iron


  • Contains phosphorus
  • Slight odor

7. Scotts Turf Builder WinterGuard

Scotts Turf Builder WinterGuard Review

After a summer of heavy use and facing a winter of cold weather, grass can sometimes benefit from extra nutrition. Scotts Turf Builder WinterGuard is a lawn fertilizer specifically designed to protect and strengthen lawns for the winter months. It is a 32-0-10 fertilizer designed for application during the fall months

Scotts WinterGuard works by providing nutrients to the grass to help it grow thick and green as well as strengthen the roots. As a result, it is good for use on lawns that suffered from drought and/or heavy usage during the summer and need some extra TLC to prepare them for winter. 

This fertilizer also prevents the growth of 50 types of weeds. It can be used on any type of turf grass. 

This lawn fertilizer comes in a 38-pound bag that covers a whopping 15,000 square feet. As a result, it is one of the most economical lawn fertilizers on the market. However, it is not sold everywhere and, because it can only be applied in the fall, is not suitable for every situation. 


  • Extra nutrition
  • Economical 
  • Prevents weed growth


  • Not sold everywhere
  • Only suitable for fall application

8. Pennington Signature Series

Pennington Signature Series Review

The Pennington Signature Series Lawn Food is a synthetic 29-0-5 lawn fertilizer for use on any type of lawn. While it can be applied at any time of the year, this product is designed to feed your lawn for up to 4 months at a time. As a result, you do not need to worry about reapplication every few weeks as you do with other lawn fertilizers. 

This lawn fertilizer also contains iron to further green up your grass. As one of the most economical options out there, a single bag can cover up to 5,000 square feet for less than a bag of other fertilizer that only covers 2,500 square feet. Thanks to the lack of phosphorus, you can use this lawn fertilizer near waterways.

This lawn fertilizer can be difficult to find in stock. The fact that it is not organic may also be a drawback for some consumers. 


  • Feeds for up to 4 months
  • Economical 


  • Hard to find
  • Not organic

9. Scotts Turf Builder Southern

Scotts Turf Builder Southern Review

Southern lawns need help dealing with the heat and humidity of their environment. Scotts Turf Builder Southern Lawn Food uses a 26-2-13 blend, in addition to 2 percent iron, to give Southern lawns the nutrients they need to withstand heat and drought without losing their greenness. It follows a 2:1 nitrogen to potassium ratio and keeps phosphorus low in order to protect any type of grass grown on a Southern lawn.

This lawn fertilizer also uses the company’s All-in-One particles to provide a more even greening and Water Smart technology to minimize the amount of water needed. While this is a synthetic lawn fertilizer, it is safe for both kids and pets. A single bag can cover up to 5,000 square feet. 

Just be aware that this fertilizer has been known to occasionally burn lawns and is not sold everywhere. In addition, the presence of phosphorus may mean you cannot apply it in certain areas, so check local regulations before using this lawn fertilizer. 


  • Specifically designed for heat and drought
  • All-in-One particles
  • Water Smart technology


  • Contains phosphorus
  • Not sold everywhere
  • May burn the lawn

10. Dr. Earth Super Natural Lawn Fertilizer

Dr. Earth Super Natural Lawn Fertilizer Review

This 9-0-5 organic lawn fertilizer contains a rich list of natural ingredients designed to foster a strong root system as well as green grass. Included in these ingredients are microbes that contribute to grass health and that improve its ability to absorb nutrients. This lawn fertilizer does not only feed the grass. It also breaks down thatch to encourage a better flow of air, sun, and water to the grass roots.

This lawn fertilizer covers 2,000 square feet with an 18 pound bag. This coverage makes it somewhat less economical than other lawn fertilizers. It also encourages such rapid growth that extra mowing is often required after application. However, this slow-release fertilizer can feed the lawn for up to 3 months, reducing the number of applications needed. 


  • Breaks down thatch
  • Organic
  • Uses microbes
  • Feeds lawn for up to 3 months


  • May increase the need for mowing
  • Expensive

Types of Lawn Fertilizer

Types of Lawn Fertilizer

As you research lawn fertilizer, you will probably notice that they come in different forms. Here is a look at the major types that you might encounter. 

1. Water Soluble

As their name suggests, water soluble lawn fertilizers need to be mixed with water before application. Miracle Gro is a good example of a water soluble fertilizer. To dispense this mixture, you can usually purchase a sprayer, to attach to your hose for application. These lawn fertilizers save you time because they go on faster than using a spreader, and you do not have to go through the additional step of watering your lawn after application. Here are some more benefits of water soluble lawn fertilizers.

  • Instant feeding
  • Less chance of burning the lawn
  • Even distribution of nutrients

2. Granular

As its name suggests, granular lawn fertilizer uses granules that must be applied to the lawn using what is called a spreader. The spreader distributes the granules evenly as you push it across the yard. You typically have to water the lawn after application in order to ensure that the fertilizer gets into the soil, where it can enrich the grass. This process may take longer than using a water soluble lawn fertilizer. Here are some of the benefits of granular lawn fertilizer.

  • Cheaper
  • Ease of storage
  • Slow release for fewer applications 

3. Organic

Organic lawn fertilizer uses natural ingredients to deliver nutrition to the grass. For example, it often includes microbes, manure, vegetative material, and animal waste instead of synthetic chemicals. Here are some of the advantages of organic lawn fertilizer:

  • Safe for pets and kids
  • Supports the natural microbiome in the grass
  • Less likely to burn the grass

4. Synthetic

Also known as chemical fertilizers, synthetic lawn fertilizers contain refined nutrients combined with chemicals. These chemicals often do not contain the living organisms that organic lawn fertilizer does. Here are some of the benefits of synthetic fertilizers:

  • Work quickly
  • Nutrient amounts are specific
  • Inexpensive 

Granular and water soluble fertilizers can both be either organic or synthetic. 

Factors to Consider When Choosing Lawn Fertilizers

When it comes to choosing the right fertilizer for your needs, there are a number of factors to consider. Here are the most important. 

1. NPK Ratio

The nutrients contained in a fertilizer are described most often by an NPK ratio. This is a lost of the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in the fertilizer. For example, 29-0-5 would mean that 29 percent of the fertilizer is nitrogen, 0 percent is phosphorus, and 5 percent is potassium. The remainder would consist of materials that help to distribute the nutrients.

Each nutrient has a different role to play. Nitrogen, for example, contributes to the grass’ rich green color. Potassium helps it resist drought. Phosphorus helps growth. The ratio you need will depend upon your grass and location.

You should also be aware that phosphorus can pollute water sources. As a result, there may be some restrictions on your use of phosphorus containing fertilizers. Make sure you know if there are any regulations about these fertilizers that apply to you before using them.

2. Organic vs. Synthetic

You will also need to choose between organic and synthetic lawn fertilizers. Some of the differences between these fertilizers are discussed above. 

The nutrients provided by each are the same. The differences lie primarily in what materials and chemicals are used to carry and deliver these nutrients and the effects those materials have on the lawns. Here are some of the differences to consider:

  • Fast vs. slow release
  • Expensive vs. inexpensive
  • Microbes vs. no microbes
  • Pet and kid safe or not
  • Environmental friendliness

3. Granular vs. Water Soluble

Another factor to consider when it comes to choosing lawn fertilizers is whether you want to use granular fertilizer or water soluble fertilizers. Your choice will most likely be a matter of personal preference. You may find the ease of application makes water soluble fertilizers preferable, or that the lower cost of granular solutions is preferable. Just be sure you understand and follow the directions for the proper application of whichever fertilizer you choose.

4. Release Rate

The rate at which fertilizers release their nutrients differs from product to product. Slow release fertilizers release nutrients over time. This means you may have to wait to see results, but you probably will not need to reapply the fertilizer as often. Fast release fertilizers release nutrients quickly. You will see results within days, but you may need to reapply the product more frequently. 

5. Child and Pet Safety 

Finally, when choosing a lawn fertilizer, you will want to consider how safe it is for any children or pets inside your home. You can find safe synthetic and organic lawn fertilizers. 


Lawn fertilizers can improve both the health and the appearance of your lawn. Choose the right one by considering factors such as the NPK ratio, organic vs. synthetic, water soluble vs. granular, and more. Don’t forget to check out our list of the 10 best fertilizers to give you some ideas for how to make your lawn lush and green.

Rose Hawes

Rose Hawes

A former master gardener, I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in creative writing and have been published in magazines such as Woman's World, Birds and Blooms, and Writer's Digest. I've also created hundreds of gardening articles for online sites such as Dave's Garden, eHow, and SFGate.

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