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13 March 2019

With many different types of sports pitches on the market, it can quickly become confusing on which is the best for your sport and requirements.

In this guide, you’ll find out everything you need to know about every type of sports pitch. If you want to know the difference between a 3G and 4G pitch, or you’d like a description of each pitch type – you’ve come to the right place.

The different Types of Pitches

Each type of sports pitch is manufactured differently – choosing the right type for your sport is important to ensure you’re choosing the pitch that will perform best.

Use our handy table below to learn the differences between each type of surface and what sport they are recommended for:

Pitch type Description Recommended for which sport
Hybrid 95% natural turf that is specially reinforced with 5% synthetic fibres. Best for high profile football and rugby. Recently available for cricket and golf.
Synthetic 100% synthetic turf made using man-made fibres. Perfect for clubs, schools and universities whose pitches require a lot of use all year round. These surfaces offer consistent performance and safety in all conditions.
2G Shorter and denser sand-based or dressed surfaces with a pile height of usually less than 24mm. Hockey, tennis and recreational football. Hockey, tennis, cricket and recreational football. Also often referred to as Multi Use Games Areas (MUGA’s).
3G Long-pile synthetic grass with a pile height of 40mm to 65mm. Typically filled with a combination of sand and performance infill. Football, rugby and Gaelic Athletic Association sports.
4G Synthetic grass without a need for rubber crumb It is important to note that technologies beyond 3G (4G, 5G, 6G etc.) have not yet been recognised by sports governing bodies.
5G Synthetic grass without a need for rubber crumb
6G Synthetic grass without a need for rubber crumb

What are Hybrid Pitches?

Hybrid pitches are constructed from 95% natural turf that is specially stitched (injected) with 5% synthetic fibres. These types of systems are capable of much longer playing hours than 100% natural grass surfaces. The blend of natural and synthetic materials means that pitches have the robustness and endurance normally associated with synthetic turf.

SISGrass, our flagship product, is a technologically advanced, reinforced turf system with patented technology. We are proud to say that our SISGrass pitches have been installed at 6 out of 12 world football cup stadiums.

 SISGrass Hybrid pitches can be prepared in as little as 5 days, even between matches. Don’t believe us? Have a look at what we did for our friends at Derby County Stadium.


A synthetic grass pitch is made up of entirely artificial (man-made or produced) materials such as an artificial turf carpet, sand and rubber infill.

Synthetic turf (also known as astro turf or 3G turf) is becoming increasingly popular at global sports venues as more and more clubs and organisations see the benefits of using this durable, high-quality surface.

SIS Pitches’ range of synthetic turf is SISTurf. Our synthetic turf pitches are made in Britain at our UK factory using the most technologically-advanced production process and high-quality materials.

synthetic pitch profile

Below you will see a typical synthetic pitch profile, which shows all the layers that make up a synthetic pitch.

The Difference Between Hybrid and Synthetic pITCHES

According to FIFA, synthetic surfaces consist of entirely artificial (man-made or produced) materials such as an artificial turf carpet, sand and rubber infill. However, hybrid surfaces use natural grass with synthetic fibres to support the surface. It is an industry standard for the synthetic fibres to be below 5% of the total grass coverage.

Some of the key differences between hybrid pitches and synthetic pitches are:

Hybrid Pitches

  • Made from a mixture of natural grass and synthetic fibres. 
  • Better replicates playing on real grass.
  • Requires more maintenance than synthetic pitches.
  • Can be used frequently but it does have some limitations on usage.
  • Looks great even with regular use.
  • Often more expensive than a synthetic pitch.
  • Perfect for a professional sports club as it provides better experience and better performance.

Synthetic Pitches

  • Made from completely synthetic materials.
  • Requires less maintenance than hybrid pitches.
  • Can withstand high usage and can be used all year round.
  • Looks great all year round.
  • Perfect for smaller clubs, public sports centres and schools.
  • More cost effective than a hybrid pitch.

When choosing a pitch type, it is important to consider a number of factors. The type of sport(s) that you will be playing, as well as the expected hours of usage will play a massive role in which surface you go for. You should also consider the realistic upkeep of the pitch that you are committing to. For example, if the pitch is going in a school, then you will want to opt for one that is low-maintenance and designed to last a number of years.

If you need help choosing which pitch is best, then one of our expert and friendly team members will be happy to help – get in touch today.

wHAT ARE 2G Pitches?

Second Generation (2G) synthetic surfaces consist of two elements: synthetic turf and infill. They are typically between 13mm-24mm in pile height. These surfaces are either sand-dressed or sand-filled. Whilst older style sand-filled pitches are still available, newer partially sand-dressed systems have become more popular in recent years.

2G pitches are perfect for hockey, tennis and recreational football. They are often installed with a shock absorbent pad to meet a certain performance and testing criteria such as BS-EN and FIH.

wHAT ARE 3G Pitches?

3G stands for a Third Generation synthetic surface which consists of three elements; synthetic turf, sand infill and rubber infill. These surfaces are typically between 35mm-65mm in pile height. Primary sports played on these types of surfaces are Football, Rugby Union, Rugby League, Lacrosse and American Football. This combination of materials is sometimes installed with a shock absorbent pad to meet certain performance and testing criteria such as BS-EN, FIFA, World Rugby and RFL.

3G pitches can also be installed with a shock absorbent pad underneath in order to meet performance and testing criteria such as the FIFA Quality Concept, World Rugby Regulation 22, BS-EN and RFL.

Our 3G SISTurf pitches are made in Britain using premium materials and tested to FIFA, World Rugby, Federation of International Hockey (FIH) standards by leading test houses.

wHAT are 4G Pitches?

Fourth Generation (4G) surfaces consist of one element: synthetic turf. These surfaces are still in the early stage of development and are designed to eliminate the requirement for any infill products, whilst still meeting all the performance and testing requirements required by the sporting governing bodies.

4G pitches are relatively new innovation to the market which struggles to meet performance testing and safety standards over a long period of time compared to 2G and 3G systems.

The Differences Between 3G and 4G pitches

The main difference between 3G and 4G surfaces is that 3G pitches contain infill, whilst 4G systems do not. 3G pitches are the latest to be recognised by any accredited governing body. Therefore, you will only find 3G pitches being publicly endorsed by sports teams or influencers.

Some key differences between 3G and 4G sport pitches:

3G Pitches:

  • Have sand and rubber infills.
  • Due to infill they are considered safer and more comfortable than 4G pitches.
  • 3G pitches are suitable for many different types of sports, including football and rugby.
  • 3G pitches are cheaper than 4G pitches.
  • Recognised by accredited governing bodies.
  • Able to withstand high usage.
  • Great for use outdoors as they are weatherproof and free-draining.
  • Popular choice for universities, schools and sports clubs all over the world.

4G Pitches:

  • Have no infill.
  • Due to no infill, injury risk is higher.
  • Require less maintenance.
  • Has more realistic characteristics.
  • More expensive than 3G pitches.
  • A great choice for indoor spaces.
  • Not recognised by any accredited governing body.

Both 3G and 4G pitches have their advantages, making neither one the better choice. The type of pitch you should choose will depend on a number of different factors, including the sport being played, the environment, the usage and your needs. If you need help deciding which is best for you, then our expert and friendly team can help – get in touch today.

What are 5G Pitches?

Fifth generation (5G) surfaces are very similar to 4G surfaces consisting of completely synthetic turf. However, where a 4G pitch doesn’t have an infill product, a 5G pitch is said to have a fully rubber crumb infill. 

5G surfaces are also still in the early stage of development and do not yet meet the performance testing and safety standards over a long period of time compared to 2G and 3G systems.

Get in touch!

If you’re looking for an expert in sport pitch design, installation and maintenance, SISPitches can help. We have years of experience, installing and maintaining some of the world’s most famous pitches. Arrange your free consultation today.