We often get asked if Jet agitation or Mechanical agitation hydroseeders are better.
This is like comparing apples and oranges, they are both fruit, but that is where the similarity ends.
Jet agitated machines use a pump and pressure to mix and agitate the slurry. Mechanically agitated units use large paddles inside of the tank that physically mix the slurry (think a kitchen mixer on steroids).
Jet machines like we sell at VSI are very inexpensive, very easy to operate and very low maintenance. The main limitation they have is that they cannot mix certain types of mulches and biotic soils. Because they only use pump suction and pressure, materials that readily float do not mix well in a Jet Agitated Hydroseeder. This would include wood mulch and bonded fiber matrix mulches.
Mechanically agitated machines are very expensive (the cheapest option is around 3 times the cost of VSI’s most expensive option) and do require more skill, knowledge and maintenance. BUT they can mix any mulch, biotic soil and fertilizer under the sun. Not only that, they can likely mix a slurry twice as thick as a jet agitated machine.
So how do you know which one you should buy?
It all comes down to what you plan to do with it.
If you plan to do a lot of large commercial or roadside work, don’t even bother with a jet machine. Go directly to the largest mechanically agitated unit you can afford. For those hydroseeding for a living, a mechanical unit undoubtedly is the best bet.
If you plan to do a lot of touch up work, residential yards, commercial landscape turf establishment, hydroseed as a side hustle or plan to use at a golf course or as a grounds maintenance worker then take a strong look at a VSI Jet Agitated Hydroseeder. The fast return on investment, ease of use, compact nature and low maintenance design make these units great for these situations where the investment in a mechanical unit just doesn’t make sense.
Furthermore, mulch and tackifier technology has come a LONG ways in recent years. This has allowed jet units to properly stabilize steep slopes and washout prone areas with a cellulose based mulch. 2:1 and even 1:1 slopes can now be tackled with your jet machine and the technology found in EDGE pellet mulch with EarthGuard technology by our friends at LSC Environmental.
There are many other factors that can go in to making a decision on your hydroseeder purchase, but at VSI we are always open and honest about what will work best for your business, even if that means recommending they shop elsewhere.