Drop spreaders and rotary spreaders are available for fertilizer applications on home lawns. Both can do an effective job if used correctly. Drop spreaders, as the name implies, drops the fertilizer material directly from the spreader onto the lawn placing the fertilizer precisely in the location desired. Drop spreaders take longer because you must cover every square inch with the spreader.
With rotary spreaders, the fertilizer material is spun out over a large area. A lawn can be fertilized more quickly with a rotary spreader because of the area covered in one pass, but some fertilizer invariably gets thrown where it is not wanted such as sidewalks and streets. Make sure to sweep up fertilizer off sidewalks as the prills can cause stains and can wash into storm drains.
Regardless of the type of spreader used, it is a good practice to cut the application rate in half and apply the fertilizer in two directions to avoid stripping patterns.