choosing between a jet and paddle agitation


 Is a paddle or jet agitation the best choice for me?  

Below we list the advantages and disadvantages of both types to help you decide.

What sized unit should I get?

We share our thoughts about choosing the right size for you on this page.

What brand of hydroseeder should I buy?

This is actually the least important question.  We always try to be honest in what we tell people and the truth is all major manufacturers of hydroseeding equipment make a good product and you will be happy with whatever brand you chose.  We try our best to build great machines that perform well and are affordably priced but all brands are time tested and perform well.



  • Jet agitated hydroseeders are very affordable.  For someone sticking their toe into the market starting with a jet unit can keep your costs low and profits high.
  • Jet agitated hydroseeders are easy to use.  One person can easily run them.  The learning curve to operate a jet agitated unit is only minutes.
  • Jet agitated systems are close to maintenance free.  You can run one for years doing little other than changing the oil in the engine.
  • Jet systems rarely ever clog.  The passages are large and there are few bends in the flow.  Typically on the few times an operator has a clog it will be because they did something they knew they should not do.
  • Jet hydroseeding systems are easy to service.  The only moving parts other than the engine are the impeller in the pump and ball valves.
  • Jet systems pump a fairly thick slurry.  The more powerful units are close to the same slurry a paddle machine can do and the more economical units still spray a nice thick slurry.
  • Clean up is fast and easy.  Just put 50 gallons of water in the tank and spray it out.
  • When spraying you can see how much material you have left in the tank which comes in very handy when trying to make sure you don’t run out of material with 5 sq. ft. left to spray.


  • Jet agitated units work best with paper mulch although a wood paper blend can be used with care in 300 gallon and larger units.  If someone needs to spray 100% wood mulches, BFM’s or Flexterra a jet agitated unit is not a good choice.
  • You can’t load full bales.  You must break up the mulch as you load it.  This doesn’t mean you need to pulverize the mulch but you do need to break it up to basketball size or smaller.



  • Paddle machines are easier to load because you can just drop full bales in them without needing to break up the mulch.
  • Paddle machines can run a slightly thicker slurry allowing you to apply more material in less time.
  • Paddle machines (most units) can run any product including 100% wood mulches, BFM’s and FGM’s.
  • Paddle machines with a gear pump can pump through more hose, up to 500 feet.
  • Paddle machines can spray further through a platform gun.


  • Paddle machines have more complex drives and require more service.
  • Although one person can run a paddle agitated machine it is better to have two people when seeding.
  • Paddle machines using a gear pump require more daily maintenance such as frequent greasing of the pump (two times a day) as well as greasing the agitator shaft bearings.
  • Paddle machines with a metal tank will eventually have issues with rust.  The proper way to deal with that is to take the top off the tank and sandblast the interior then coat the inside of the tank with coal tar epoxy which is smelly and messy.
  • Gear pumps will lose power over time and require you to take off the front cover of the pump and remove one or two gaskets to return the power to like new and when there are no more gaskets to remove the pump must be rebuilt.


HS-50 Turbo Turf Hydroseeder
Turbo Turf HS-300-EH Hydroseeder
HM-750-T hydroseeder, pull type

Choosing a size is not always easy since a smaller machine allows you to get into the hydroseeding field with less expense and a larger machine lets you get jobs done quickly making you more productive.

Deciding what size of machine to get is more a case of knowing the kinds of jobs and size of the jobs you will be doing.  You can do big jobs with a small machine and small jobs with a big machine but you can do larger jobs faster and more efficiently with a larger machine.  Another consideration is the amount you have budgeted for a hydroseeding machine.

We suggest if you are going to do primarily residential work that the best choice is at least a 300 gallon machine.   We have seen people be quite productive with a smaller machine and often they improve the productivity by having a water tank with them so they can refill quickly.  I have seen people say they could seed as fast with a 150 gallon unit and water tank as someone with a 500 gallon unit and no water tank.

Another thing to keep in mind is how often you will be hydroseeding.   A landscaper who does a handful of jobs a year may be better off by investing less in the size of a machine and even if it takes an extra hour or so to do the job it will still be effective and efficient and better than subbing out the job to someone else.




The HS-300-E8 Has an oval tank with a 16″ opening.  It has an 8H.P Honda recoil start engine and an aluminum pump.

All EH models such as the HS-300-EH and HS-500-EH have a custom molded tank with a built in bale tray to make loading easy and minimize spillage.  They have 13 H.P. Honda electric start engine.  They have a cast iron pump designed specifically for hydroseeding with 333 GPM flow and 72 P.S.I. pressure.

Advantages of the EH series over the E8 Series

  • Bigger engine and electric start rather than recoil start
  • High performance premium pump designed specifically for hydroseeding
  • Custom molded tank with molded in bale tray for easier loading and less spillage

All XPW models such as the  HS-300-XPW, HS-500-XPW, HS-750-XPW and HS-1000-XPW come with an 18H.P. Kohler Command Pro electric start engine coupled to a 4″ x 4″ cast iron pump designed specifically for hydroseeding with 640 G.P.M and 63 P.S.I.  They also have the bale buster as standard equipment which speeds up loading and allows you to load bigger chunks of mulch.  The 300 & 500 gallon units come with custom molded tanks with the built in bale tray and 750 & 1000 gallon units some with an oval tank.  They also have two fill lids, one 16″ and one 12″.

Advantages of the XPW series over the EH series

  • Bigger (18 H.P.) engine,
  • Larger Pump
  • Bale buster standard
  • Dual lids on 300 & 500 gallon sizes

All ZX models such as the HS-500-ZX, HS-750-ZX and HS-1000-ZX come with an 27 H.P. Kohler Command Pro electric start engine coupled to a 4″ x 4″ cast iron pump designed specifically for hydroseeding with 740 G.P.M and 87 P.S.I.   The ZX models come standard with the front platform and platform gun, Larger 1 1/2″ hose in lieu of the 1 1/4″ hose on ZX models, the bale buster and dual lids on the 300 & 500.

Advantages of the ZX series over the XPW series

  • Advantages of the ZX series over the XPW series
  • Front platform and gun standard
  • Larger engine and more powerful pump (740 GPM  87 P.S.I.
  • Larger spray hose   1 1/2″ compared to 1 1/4″  spray 40% faster




The Hybrid units are designed to have the best advantages of jet units with many of the advantages of paddle or mechanically agitated hydroseeders.  There are two engines on the Hybrid.  One is directly coupled to the centrifugal pump with no belts chains or pulleys and no need to ever grease anything on the pump.  The other engine powers the paddles using a simple belt drive.  With the Hybrid you can load full bales without the need to break them up.  Just drop in the complete bale.  You can pump a thicker slurry then you can with a jet unit.   One big advantage of the hybrid series is that it is easy to run and can be run easily by one person.  The only disadvantage with the Hybrid compared to our other mechanical units is that we do not recommend it for difficult to spray materials such as 100% wood mulches, BFM, FGM’s such as Flexterra.


The T series units such as the HM-400-T, HM-500-T, HM-750-T and HM-1000-T are designed to be a very affordable unit that is able to handle a thick slurry of even the most difficult materials such as 100% wood mulches, BFM’s and Flexterra.  T series units use a simple easy to service belt drive to power the pump and paddles.  They come with a positive displacement Bowie gear pump.  The come plumbed to be able to pull water from a pond or stream (hose optional)


The HARV-E series has both the Bowie gear pump and the mixing paddles driven hydraulically.  There are no belts, chains or gears.  Both the pump and the paddles are reversible.  Some products such as Flexterra recommend running the paddles both directions when mixing.  By being able to reverse the paddles should you ever get a full bale of mulch wedged between the paddles and the sides of the tank which is rare you can reverse the paddles to simplify solving that problem.   With the pump being reversible should you ever get a clog in the suction line you can reverse the pump to blow that clog back into the tank eliminating the need to take the plumbing apart.


The HARV uses the same engines and hydraulic drive as the HARV-E.  The differences between the HARV-E and HARV are that the HARV is loaded with extra features.  It has a full platform which allows you to carry more material with you and which also has a unique multi-position gun that allows you to move the platform gun to either side or the front or back which makes spraying from the platform easier.  It has a 50 gallon flush tank so you can clean out your hoses without needing to hook up to a water supply.  It has an electric rewind hose reel all as standard equipment.   Any of those items can be added as options on the HARV-E as well as a front platform that can be added to the HARV-E as an option.