4G Artificial Turf Pitches

What exactly is 4G artificial turf?

It seems that the description ‘4G artificial turf’ relating to a sports pitch or multi-use games area (MUGA) has become more prevalent over the last couple of years. The presumption for those coming across the term for the first time tends to be that this must refer to a generic type or common specification of artificial sports turf, in the same way as ‘3G artificial turf’ is the established and accepted name for a long pile surface which has an infill of rubber and sand.

Or does it?

On searching further for more information, one finds that contrary to there being a single description of ‘4G artificial turf’, there are numerous, conflicting claims as to what ‘4G artificial turf’ actually is – that is if it does exist as a genuine generic title.

So, let’s try to summarise what you might come across in your search.

  • 4G artificial turf is a medium length pile (approx. 30mm) artificial turf with no in-fill materials e.g sand and rubber.
  • 4G artificial turf is a high specification version of 3G artificial turf with in-fill materials e.g sand and rubber.
  • 4G artificial turf is a water-based system for Elite Hockey with a shorter length pile (approx. 18mm) and no in-fill materials e.g. sand and rubber.
  • 4G artificial turf is an updated or replicated version of 1st generation (1G) from the 1980’s.
  • 4G artificial turf – there is no such thing as a generic term.

For anyone looking to learn more about what artificial grass surface might be the best for their sport or range of sports, this is at best confusing and at worst totally unhelpful!

In truth the latter definition, ‘there is no such thing as 4G as a generic term’ is generally accepted among industry experts as the correct one.

Certainly, our manufacturing partners, FieldTurf who are a FIFA and World Rugby Preferred Producer and FIH Preferred Supplier, and Labosport the leading Independent Test House and Consultant, both support this view.

FIFA 1 Star 3G football turf pitch


The other descriptions tend to be borne out of the sales and marketing activities among a few competing artificial turf companies looking to gain an advantage by saying they have something which is better or something which others don’t have.

The situation is not helped when the media latch on to this term, themselves assuming it refers to a ‘latest generic technology’. And then through repetition they inadvertently perpetuate this misunderstanding. A newspaper even in one instance announced that the Football Association wanted to install ‘state of the art 4G (fourth generation) pitches in 30 “city hubs”. When you read the story you found there was no mention of 4G in the FA’s statement, the FA spokesman actually, and correctly, used the description 3G’.

The reality is that when initially embarking on an artificial turf project you do not, as the client, have to be making the decision on what generic surface specification is best suited to your requirements. It is up to the specialist artificial pitch companies you will consult, like S&C Slatter, to discuss, consider and propose the solution and or options which will deliver what you want. It really doesn’t matter at this stage whether it’s labelled 3G, 4G or whatever.

This doesn’t preclude you doing your own general background desk and field research, but you don’t have to – it’s the job of your specialist adviser to do all the necessary technical analysis and assessment. Certainly this is the case with S&C Slatter who provide a complete end to end service,

FieldTurf 360XL System – 42mm or 60mm 360XL-System

So let’s be clear. S&C Slatter can and does deliver surfacing systems which could be variously called 4G artificial turf, 3G artificial turf, Long-pile artificial turf, Medium-pile artificial turf, Short-pile artificial, Dense-pile artificial grass, Sand-dressed artificial turf, Sand-filled artificial turf and lots of other names as well.

But we prefer to focus on what the systems will deliver for you, not the names. We hope you agree with that view and please just give us a call whenever you have the need for straightforward advice and clarity on artificial turf pitch systems.

Pitch Specification for Rugby using a 60mm 3G artificial turf surface