3G and 4G Astroturf Synthetic Grass for Sports: A Guide for Football, Rugby, and Multi-Sport in the UK

3G and 4G Astroturf Synthetic Grass for Sports: A Guide for Football, Rugby, and Multi-Sport in the UK

In the world of sports, playing surfaces play a crucial role in the performance, safety, and overall experience of athletes and spectators alike. Traditional grass pitches have long been the standard, but over the years, synthetic grass surfaces, often referred to as astroturf, have gained popularity, especially for sports like football, rugby, and multi-sport activities.

Among these, 2G and 3G astroturf synthetic grass systems have emerged as top choices. In this article, we'll delve into the different types of sports pitches, their differences, and the main benefits of using them for sports in the UK.

2G Astroturf

A 2G synthetic turf system is a second generation artificial pitch system which is made of short turf fibres (usually between 13mm-24mm) and a sand infill. The type of turf is widely used in recreational football and sports such as Hockey and Tennis.

3G Astroturf

3G synthetic grass, or third-generation artificial turf, is a type of synthetic turf that is specifically designed for sports applications. It typically consists of a base layer, infill, and synthetic grass fibres. The infill is usually made of a mix of sand and rubber crumb, providing stability and cushioning. This artificial grass system is one of the most popular due to it's versatility and affordability.

4G & 5G Astroturf

4G or fourth-generation is a technologically advanced reinforced turf which only includes synthetic fibres. This advanced system is at the early stage of development and as such is not recognised by any accredited governing body in sport thus far. 3G and 4G pitches have the same qualities in terms of performance and durability, with 4G using more advanced techniques and technology to have a completely integrated system with no need for rubber crumb infill or separate shock layers.

Sports Pitches - Hybrid, Synthetic?

While you may have heard of synthetic 2g, 3g, 4g systems, there are also hybrid pitches to consider. Hybrid synthetic pitches are predominantly made up of natural turf fibres infused with approx 5% synthetic turf for extra stability and support. They are usually bespoke, custom made solutions for world football cup stadiums and professional sports.

The key differences between hybrid pitches and synthetic solutions is the cost, durability and usage. Many professional sports clubs prefer to use hybrid pitches because it is the closest surface to playing on authentic grass without the preparation and maintenance before and after each game. With that being said, they are less hardwearing than Astroturf pitches and usage is limited. Hybrid synthetic grass is also much more expensive.

Key Differences Between 2G and 3G Astroturf

With artificial turf carpet, sand and rubber infill, aswell as the density of the turf carpet fibres and the base are what sets 2G and 3G pitches apart, and is what testing criteria is based on. Let's look at the synthetic pitch profile for both in more detail.

  1. Fibre Length and Density:

    2G: Typically has shorter and less dense artificial grass fibres, usually between 13mm and 24mm in height

    3G: 3G pitches profile tends to have longer, thicker fibres ranging from 35mm to 65mm with more realistic characteristics of authentic grass.

  2. Infill Materials:

    2G: 2 elements - synthetic turf, sand.

    2G artificial grass pitches usually consist of synthetic turf and sand infill only. May also include an absorbent base to qualify for certain sports standards. This synthetic turf sand infill can sometimes be brushed into the fibres grass without a need to fill right to the top, known as partially sand dressed systems.

    3G: 3 elements - synthetic turf, mix of sand and rubber granules.

    Commonly uses a mix of sand and rubber crumb. May include a shockpad base.

    May also include performance enhancing infill such as cork, rubber crumb in fill and other organic materials.

  3. Playability, Performance and Testing Criteria

    2G: This type of sports pitch is widely used in sports such as Hockey, Recreational Football, Netball and is popular with schools and MUGAs for its playability and versatility.

    3G: Suitable for amateur and professional sports (when used with a shock absorbent pad to meet regulations) and offers enhanced performance, closer to natural grass for sports such as union rugby league, lacrosse, world rugby, professional football and athletics. Conforms to all sports standards for performance testing and safety including FIFA, World Rugby and GAA.

Benefits of Using 2G and 3G Synthetic Grass for Sports


Synthetic grass turf is designed to withstand heavy use and adverse weather conditions, making it highly durable options for sports pitches in the UK's unpredictable climate. Similarly, the advanced reinforced turf system for both 2G and 3G pitches include infill materials and shock pad layers which help to maintain the integrity of the turf fibres and increase their lifespan, making them a longterm investment which will last for years to come.

Low Maintenance

Unlike natural grass, synthetic grass requires minimal maintenance. Players can benefit from playing on a pitch that looks and feels like real grass without the need for continuous upkeep. There's no need for mowing, watering, or fertilising, which saves clubs and organisations both time and money. The upkeep of artificial grass is simple and less frequent than authentic grass which requires consistent maintenance and care.


Cost Effective

Investing in a synthetic turf system maximises functionality due to the versatility of various sports and the increase of use throughout the year. With increased playability, clubs and sports teams/ organisations are able to receive a return in their investment as well as saving significantly on the maintenance costs of real grass. The costs of carpet sand and rubber crumb in fill to maintain an artificial grass pitch is much less than the irrigation and preparation costs associated with real grass pitches.

Consistent Playing Surface

Synthetic grass provides a consistent playing surface throughout the year, regardless of weather conditions. This ensures that athletes can train and compete at their best, without worrying about uneven or muddy patches allowing for a smoother playing surface despite the weather.


Artificial grass pitches can be tailored to meet the specific requirements of different sports, recognised by any accredited sports organisations. Whether it's football, rugby, or multi-sport activities, these surfaces can be adapted to provide optimal performance for each sport. For example, the accredited governing body of various sports require certain performance and testing standards to be met which may include specific performance infill or to the artificial grass system to be installed with a shock layer to meet the professional standards for athletes.


Both 2G and 3G synthetic grass surfaces are designed with player safety in mind. The infill materials offer cushioning and shock absorption, reducing the risk of injuries from falls and tackles.


What do FIFA synthetic surfaces consist of?

FIFA require any artificial turf pitch to be tested/approved using test criteria such as their FIFA Quality Programme. This ensures that the surface is suitable for football at professional levels.

Between Hybrid and Synthetic Pitches, what is the best in terms of performance?

Both systems are renowned for their superior performance and it really comes down to player preference as well as affordability. Hybrid systems are more expensive to produce, install and maintain.

Is synthetic grass entirely artificial man made?

Yes artificial grass is an engineered, technically enhanced surface.

Is there a need for rubber crumb with 4G pitches?

No 4G pitches do not require sand or rubber infill.

Can you get pitches hybrid synthetic 2g?

Yes any synthetic grass fibres can be infused with 95% of natural fibres for a hybrid pitch.

Is it possible to get synthetic grass without infill?

Yes fourth and fifth generation turf does not require infill.


From 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G artificial grass pitches available on the market, it can be a challenge determining exactly what you need from all the options.

2G and 3G astroturf synthetic grass have revolutionised the way sports pitches are designed and maintained in the UK. With their durability, low maintenance requirements, and enhanced performance characteristics, they offer a viable alternative to traditional grass pitches for football, rugby, and multi-sport activities.

Hybrid synthetic 2g, 3g or 4g systems are mainly used in large sports arenas where there is adequate time and money to maintain the sports pitch. Likewise, 4G pitches and 5G systems are not used in the mainstream because testing and certification has not reached completion and fully recognised by sporting federations, as well as the technologically advanced production process involved.

Whether you're a professional athlete, a club manager, or a sports enthusiast, investing in a 3G or 4G synthetic grass pitch can provide a long-lasting and high-quality playing surface that meets the needs of all modern sports.


Previous Article Next Article