Salt Spreader for Trucks : How to go about selecting the best truck-mounted salt and sand spreader? We give you the facts so you can decide which salt spreader is best for your truck. We review three SaltDogg salt spreaders because they make the best salt spreaders specifically designed for trucks. It’s that simple.
We hope you find this article informative. Ultimately, the final decision is yours.
Best Salt Spreader for Trucks
Dispensing larger volumes of salt will mean using a salt spreader that fits onto a truck to get the job done effectively and efficiently. Before deciding on which salt spreader to buy for your truck, you’d do well to read this article. We’ll look at all the details pertaining to salt spreaders for trucks in a bid to help you make an informed decision.
This article is going to guide you through the decision-making process when selecting the best products and we’ll also review three products from the SaltDogg range of salt spreaders for trucks. These SaltDogg products vary in size and will be suitable for anyone looking for a small to medium duty salt spreader that mounts to a pickup truck.
Before looking at the available products, we’ll provide you with a buyer’s guide so that you know what to look for.
What Size Do you Need? 8 Cu.ft. : SaltDogg TGS03 Tailgate Salt Spreader
Choosing the Best Tailgate Salt spreader for your Truck
Because they come in a variety of sizes, you need to assess your needs first. If you’re using a truck-mounted salt spreader for a driveway that isn’t too long or wide, it doesn’t need to be that large. Contractors will obviously want something larger. The size of the salt spreader that you choose for your truck will affect how easily it can be installed. A larger salt spreader will cover a greater area faster than a smaller model because the auger on large salt spreader will be more powerful and the spinner will generally be larger.
A small salt spreader will be relatively light and easy to install. They can be mounted to any standard tow hitch and can be used with most trucks (even smaller ones) and SUVs. While you could probably mount these salt spreaders to any vehicle with a tow hitch, I wouldn’t recommend it. A snow spreader that fits onto a tow hitch places extra weight behind the rear wheels, this pushes down heavily on the rear suspension. Trucks and SUVs have stronger rear suspension because they are designed to carry more weight. A sedan has a rear suspension that’s designed for comfort and not much weight, this means that their suspension is much softer and the rear of the vehicle will drop when the extra weight is applied. This can damage the vehicle and cause a loss of traction in front wheel drive vehicles. Even small half or three quarter ton trucks that may be based on compact cars have reinforced rear suspension to handle the extra weight at the rear of the vehicle.
One of the big factors affecting salt spreaders for trucks is corrosion. Rock salt (and some other ice melt products) are highly corrosive. Some salt spreaders for trucks make use of stainless steel hoppers, augers, and spinners. While this is an excellent material, it’s very expensive and adds a lot of extra weight. Most salt spreaders for trucks have hoppers made from composite plastics that are both corrosion resistant and lightweight. The auger and spinner can be made from either plastic or corrosion resistant metals like stainless steel or aluminum. For most of us, plastic is fine. Provided that it is a durable, high-quality composite resin that’s going to last.
If you’re looking for a large salt spreader for your truck, you will need to decide between a gas engine and an electric motor to power the spinner and the auger. Electric is the most popular because the motor requires little to no maintenance and they are quiet. Another big advantage to using an electric snow spreader on a truck is that it can be operated remotely, from inside the cab. I would think that an electric snow spreader would be most people’s first choice unless you’re using a large commercial machine where more power is needed. The only factor here is ensuring that your truck has an alternator that’s powerful enough to provide the necessary amperage. Most 1-ton trucks should be able to handle the electric load of a large salt spreader. Small salt spreaders that fit onto a tow hitch won’t draw much current and can often be plugged into an auxiliary (cigarette lighter) outlet in the cab of the truck.
There are some maintenance factors to consider. Items like bearings, gears, and chains need to be lubricated. Some salt spreaders may use sealed bearings that don’t require greasing. These need no maintenance but have a limited lifespan. Bearings that require regular greasing, generally don’t need to be replaced as often as maintenance-free bearings. Some salt spreaders will also have a gearbox and conveyor chains that need lubricating.
SaltDogg SHPE0750 | Residential or commercial use
Generally, machines that have several lubrication points are built to be more durable. Basically, if you want a salt spreader that’s going to require less maintenance, it’s not going to hold up to heavy-duty work and these are better suited for the occasional user. Heavy-duty machines, designed for contractors, will generally require more maintenance. Salt spreaders for trucks don’t require specialized maintenance and most of us can do this ourselves. So your maintenance costs will never be much more than the cost of some oil and grease. Some parts may need replacement over time but this will depend very much on how the salt spreader is used and how well it is maintained. They are not overly complicated machines.
Best Tailgate Salt Spreaders for Trucks
We’ve selected three salt spreaders that are designed to be used with a truck. All three models are manufactured by SaltDogg. The SaltDogg trademark forms part of the Buyers Products Company. This is a US company specializing in a wide variety of technical products and has been around since 1946.
The SaltDogg brand is associated with every type of salt dispensing and deicing machine from small, walk behind salt spreaders right up to heavy-duty municipal salt spreaders. This makes them one of the best brands when considering a salt spreader for a truck. They have the experience and expertise needed to provide a quality product that has been proven to work.
The three salt spreaders that we have chosen range from a small 4.4 cubic foot model that mounts to a tow hitch up to a large machine with a 2 cubic yard hopper that fits onto the load bed of your truck.
4.4 Cubic Foot — Best Tailgate Salt spreader for your Truck
- Easily mounts to an SUV or a 1/2 ton, 3/4 ton, or 1 ton truck.
- Hopper has 4.4 cubic foot capacity.
- Uses #1 free flowing rock salt.
- Simple 1-1/4 in. or 2 in. hitch-mount design.
- 12V DC-powered electric drive for quiet, low maintenance operation.
- Economical vertical agitator/auger.
- 9 in. poly spinner can broadcast up to 14 ft.
- Included on/off manual switch control.
- Carbon steel frame is powder-coated for optimum corrosion protection.
- Durable, corrosion-free poly hopper.
- Made in the USA.
✓ View or download the MANUAL for the SaltDogg TGSUV1B.
This is a small and very easy to use salt spreader that mounts to any SUV or truck from ½-ton upwards using a 1¼” or 2” hitch mount – class 3 or 4 receivers. The hitch mount folds away to give you easy access to the tailgate.
The 4.4 cubic foot hopper is molded from highly durable polyethylene and is, therefore 100% corrosion resistant. The hopper is supported by a powder coated carbon steel frame that also won’t rust. It makes use of a 9” poly spinner capable of spreading #1 free-flowing rock salt up to 14 Ft. The hopper can hold up to 331 LBS of rock salt.
It is one of the simplest salt spreaders for trucks as far installation is concerned. It uses a 12V, ⅛ HP electric motor that plugs into the cigarette lighter outlet in your truck. It has an inline switch that allows you to turn it on or off from inside the cab. This is a gravity fed system with a manual open and close lever at the hopper.
There’s a fair amount of assembly required when you first unbox the SaltDogg TGSUV1B but it has very clear, detailed instructions with an easy to follow diagrams. There is basically no maintenance required except for retightening some bolts occasionally. This is a light-duty salt spreader and doesn’t have any components that need greasing.
The actual unit weighs only 68-pounds. So with the hopper full, you’ll be loading just under 400-pounds to the rear of the truck. It has no built-in wiring for a vibrator but a vibrator kit is available for this model.
The SaltDogg TGSUV1B is as basic as it gets when it comes to salt spreaders for trucks. This makes it the most affordable model in the SaltDogg range of high-quality salt spreaders for trucks. It’s ideal for home users who don’t intend doing heavy-duty work and it requires basically no maintenance. You have the reassurance of a 1-year warranty from a highly respected brand.
Best tailgate salt spreader trucks for commercial applications (optional vibrator — SaltDogg 3020340: 200 lb Vibrator.
- Easily mounts to a 1/2 ton, 3/4 ton, or 1 ton truck.
- Hopper has 8 cubic foot capacity.
- Uses bulk salt or salt/sand mix (with optional vibrator).
- Simple 2 in. hitch-mount design.
- 12V DC-powered electric drive for quiet, low maintenance operation.
- Horizontal auger reduces material waste and provides better spread control.
- 12 in. poly spinner can broadcast up to 30 ft.
- Easy to use variable speed in-cab controls.
- Carbon steel frame is powder-coated for optimum corrosion protection.
- Corrosion-proof and durable poly hopper comes in red, yellow and black.
- Made in the USA.
This model is twice the size of the SaltDogg TGSUV1B, with an 8 cubic feet hopper, capable of holding up to 600-pounds of salt and sand mixture. Apart from being larger, the SaltDogg TGS03 is more sophisticated than the cheaper, smaller model. This salt spreader makes use of an auger with a stainless steel through shaft.
The hopper is made from the same polyethylene as the other trailer hitch model. The dual wall hopper has no frame but mounts to a carbon steel, powder coated steel frame that attaches to tow hitch. It’s, therefore just as durable. The SaltDogg TGS03 has a 2” hitch mount, designed for a class 4 tow hitch. It mounts easily to any SUV, ¼-ton, ½-ton or 1-ton truck. It has a 12” poly spinner, powered by a ½ HP 12V dual shaft gear motor and is capable of broadcasting the salt/sand up to 30 FT. The kit includes a remote control system that is fitted inside the cab with variable speed control.
SaltDogg 3020340 200 lb Vibrator for TGS03 Tailgate Spreader
The SaltDogg TGS03 requires quite a bit more assembly and installation procedures than the TGSUVB1. This includes an electric installation – it doesn’t simply plug into an auxiliary circuit inside the cab. The wiring harness that comes as part of your kit makes it as easy as possible and perfectly safe to install. I found the assembly and installation instructions to be very easy to follow. The instruction manual comes with detailed diagrams for every step and the instructions are well-written in readable English. This is one of the benefits of going with an American company. Some instruction manuals may be good for a laugh when you see the use of the English language but are near impossible to understand.
This model also requires a little extra maintenance, though this is too, is very simple. It has a bearing that needs to be greased. It’s recommended that you do this after every 7-10 hours of operation. It has an optional vibrator kit and this is very easy to install as the wiring for the vibrator is included in the harness that’s supplied with the salt spreader. It’s simply a matter of bolting the vibrator to the hopper and plugging it into the provided wiring.
The SaltDogg YGS03 is a larger and more versatile salt spreader than the base model and is obviously more expensive. The low profile design makes it very practical. It weighs 160-pounds and will take some extra effort to install. But, then again, this is a larger and more sophisticated machine. It comes with the same 1-year warranty.
Best Tailgate Salt spreader for your truck and high-volume usage.
- Fits a 1 ton truck with a minimum 6 ft bed.
- Patented double-wall, 2 cubic yard poly hopper is available in red, yellow and black. Won’t rust or dent.
- 12V DC-powered electric drive with independent auger and spinner motors.
- Handles bulk salt or a sand/salt mix.
- In-cab control of independent auger and spinner speeds, with vibrator control.
- 14 in. poly spinner broadcasts material up to 30 ft. and can be easily removed for cleaning and storage. Includes high flow standard or extended length chute.
- Stainless steel auger, open trough and spinner shield.
- Vibrator, top screen, tarp, tie downs and remote auger bearing grease kit included.
- Forklift slots for ease of loading.
- Backed with a 2 year warranty.
- Made in the USA.
Now we’re going to look at one of the big dogs when it comes to salt spreaders for trucks. Although SaltDogg SHPE2000 isn’t close to being the biggest commercial salt spreader, it’s larger than the models that fit onto a tow hitch and is more suited to contractors and farmers.
The hopper measures 100” in length, the width and height both measure 47.8”. So you’ll need a ¾ or 1-ton truck with a load bed that’s at least 6 Ft long to accommodate the hopper. This is a double wall polyethylene hopper and holds 2 cubic yards of bulk salt or salt and sand mixture. The frame is made from 304 stainless steel as is the 2½” horizontal auger. It uses a 14” poly spinner with a 30 Ft spread capacity.
VIDEO | See the Spread Pattern
The auger is powered by a ½ HP, 12V, gear motor and the spinner is powered by a separate ¼” HP, 12V motor. The combined load of these motors adds up to 62.5A. It also comes fitted with a 200 LB vibrator, this will push up your load requirement on your truck’s alternator even further. Unfortunately, there are no power specs for the vibrator, though I’d think it’s safe to assume that your total load will be about 80-90A. The wiring kit that’s supplied with SaltDogg SHPE2000 has a 120A circuit breaker but this is no indication of the actual load that’s used. Circuit breakers and the cabling that’s used will always have a higher rating than the actual current used. It comes with a full remote control with all speed functions that installs inside the cab of your truck.
Naturally, installing SaltDogg SHPE2000 is quite a process and this takes around 3-hours. Fortunately, things are made easy for you. The wiring harness is fully complete, safe and quite easy to install. The hopper comes with tie-downs to make the installation easier. As with the other SaltDogg salt spreaders for trucks, the kit is fully inclusive. You get a detailed and easy to use instruction manual, which includes a step by step installation guide. As this is a heavy-duty salt spreader, it will require some maintenance. You’ll have to grease the bearing. Fortunately, you get a remote auger bearing grease kit with the machine. You also get a top screen and fitted tarp as part of your purchase.
The SaltDogg SHPE2000 is a fantastic salt spreader for contractors doing light to medium-duty residential work. It’s tough and comes with everything you need to install the machine plus a whole lot of extras. This model has a 2-year warranty.
Visit the SaltDogg site to learn more about their products.
Why would you want a salt spreader for your truck?
Depending on how much ice you get in winter and how large an area you need to deice, you may need to dispense large amounts of rock salt or some other ice melt product. Doing this by hand or using a salt spreader that you push manually just might not be feasible.
A large walk behind salt spreader can hold up to 100-pounds of salt, you won’t easily get one any larger than this. Even then, pushing a device that holds a 100-pounds is a tough job. If this feels like too much effort, you’ll definitely want to consider a salt spreader that mounts to your truck. If you need to disperse more than 100-pounds, then a salt spreader for your truck may be essential. Not only will you be able to broadcast more salt at a time, the whole process is going to much faster and there’s very little physical effort involved. You need to mount the salt spreader to your truck and obviously fill the hopper. After this is done, all the heavy work will be done for you.
How do salt spreaders for trucks work?
Essentially a salt spreader that’s designed for a truck has a few basic components that are common to all types and sizes of these devices. They all have a hopper which holds the salt and feeds it into the broadcaster. The size of the hopper can be anything from 4 cubic feet, holding around 300-pounds of salt, increasing in size to salt spreaders that can hold over 1000-pounds.
Smaller salt spreaders for trucks can be mounted to a standard tow hitch and can be easily installed by one person. As the size increases the hopper will be designed to fit the load bed of the truck, these will obviously be bulky and heavy. Large salt spreaders that fit onto the load bed of a truck take more effort to install and are usually preferred by contractors who undertake heavier duty deicing projects. A salt spreader with a larger hopper will usually also spread the salt over a larger area.
The hopper only holds the salt or salt and sand mixture. From here the salt needs to be distributed over the ice. A flat rotating disc, known as a spinner, spreads the salt. The spinner has channels that direct the salt from the center outwards and the salt if flung from these channels as the disc rotates.
Small truck-mounted salt spreaders that fit onto a tow hitch, will usually have the hopper directly above the spinner. This means that many of these salt spreaders will use gravity to feed the salt from the hopper to the spinner. This is controlled a simple mechanical flap at the base of the hopper. It is opened manually by means of leaver and the salt begins to flow onto the spinner immediately after releasing the leaver. This has a disadvantage in that the flow of salt cannot be controlled remotely which results in some wastage.
The operator has to open the hopper flap before getting into the truck and during this time, salt is pouring onto the spreader without being dispersed. Should the driver stop the truck for any reason, he is not able to stop the flow of salt immediately. You have to get out of the truck and walk to the hopper before you can shut the salt flow off. This system is cheaper, bringing down the total price of the salt spreader. It is also very basic technology with less chance of anything going wrong.
A large hopper that fits onto the load bed of the truck cannot make use of a gravity fed system. Simply because the hopper is horizontal and the salt cannot fall onto the spinner. This means that an auger is used to move the salt onto the spinner. Even some salt spreaders that have the hopper directly above the spinner will also make use of an auger. Even though this costs more and requires more power from the truck’s alternator, there are several reasons why it’s preferable to use an auger.
One immediate benefit is a remote control, the driver is able to switch the auger on or off from inside the cab and in most cases, also control the speed of auger. This is another reason why many prefer an auger. Because the speed of the auger can be controlled, you are able to regulate the flow of salt to the spinner. This means that you are able to apply more or less salt as conditions change. These factors combine to reduce wastage. Yet another reason to consider a salt spreader that uses an auger is its ability to use a mixture of both rock salt and sand. Gravity fed salt spreaders need to use #1 free-flowing rock salt.
This brings us to providing power to drive the spinner and auger. Most of the smaller snow spreaders for trucks use a 12V DC electric motor or motors that derive their power from the truck’s alternator. As the size increases and more power is needed to drive the spinner and the auger, some salt spreaders may use a gas engine. Really large salt spreaders can even use hydraulic motors. Though most salt spreaders designed for a regular pickup truck will be either electric or gas-powered. Even very large salt spreaders for trucks can be powered by means of a 12V electric motor. With these large motors, it’s important to ensure that the alternator fitted to your truck can handle the current required – this can exceed 100A in some cases.
Another feature that will enhance the performance of the salt spreader is a vibrator which can be fitted to the machine as a standard item. Otherwise, they’re usually available as an optional extra or in the form of an aftermarket kit. The purpose of the vibrator is to agitate the salt and/or sand in the hopper, enabling it to move more freely. The salt or sand can easily become compacted in the hopper and will therefore not move as easily as it should. Moisture collecting in the hopper will also inhibit the material flow. A vibrator on the hopper overcomes these problems.
When using the salt spreader that’s fitted to your truck, you fill the hopper with the required material (usually rock salt, sand, or a mixture of the two). Gravity or an auger feeds the salt into the spinner and then the rotating spinner spreads the salt. Most electric salt spreaders for trucks will have controls inside the cab that allow you to switch them on or off and change the speed of the auger without being at the unit.