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Fiber vs. Infill – Which Turf System Approach Is Better?

Synthetic turf consists of a few key materials: the fiber, which makes up the carpet system, and the infill mix, which is usually a blend of sand and rubber.

When making artificial turf, manufacturers take one of two approaches. They can create a fiber-heavy field or an infill-heavy field. The question is, which is better? Which type of field offers superior performance, player safety, and longevity?

When you understand what each component does, it’s clear that in the fiber vs. infill debate, fiber-heavy turf systems always come out on top. Let’s take a look at why this is and what this means for those searching for a top-quality turf system for their facility.

What’s in Your Turf?

To make an artificial field, the turf provider will install a fiber carpet and coat it to hold it in place. Then, they pour the infill over the fiber system. This infill is generally rubber and sand, although today you can find turf systems that use alternative infill options such as specialized rubbers or organic materials.

  • The fibers are the replacement for natural grass. Ideally, they offer comparable traction and feel, and they should be long-lasting.
  • The infill mix stabilizes the carpet and will absorb shock, helping to protect players from injury.

You can also include a pad in your system for extra shock absorption. But, the core of an artificial athletic field is the fiber and infill.

What’s the Difference Between an Infill-Heavy and a Fiber-Heavy Field?

An infill-heavy field uses more sand and rubber and fewer fibers.

With an infill-heavy field, the manufacturer will tuft the fiber rows, so they are ¾” apart – a practice known as wide-gauge tufting. Then, they use extra infill to fill in the empty spaces.

Sand and rubber infill are cheap, so this allows the manufacturer to create an inexpensive field. The problem with this approach is, you have less fiber. And, the fiber is what you need more of to enhance performance and durability.

Here’s why:

UV exposure eventually breaks down polyurethane (PE) fibers. So, over time, it’s the fiber that will start to degrade.

With an infill-heavy field, you have minimal fibers. The less fiber you have to start, the faster it disappears. As a result, you’ll have a field that’s mostly infill after a few years, which isn’t safe for play.

At this point, you’ll have to replace the field.

A fiber-heavy field naturally lasts longer. You get more years of use, even with intensive play. And, when you choose an AstroTurf field, you also benefit from an even better fiber quality.

Instead of the standard PE fibers, you can opt for our special, innovative fiber that fuses PE and nylon: Trionic fiber. The nylon adds durability and strength, while the PE gives you grass-like traction. The end result is a superior field that will outlast any infill-heavy system.

What’s more, you’ll get more value out of your investment because fiber-heavy fields don’t cost more.

Better Performance, Better Safety, More Value

Why pay the same amount for an athletic field that won’t last as long and that can’t provide the same level of consistency and safety?

There’s no question that the fibers are the most important part of an artificial turf system. So, if you want an exceptional playing surface, make sure you’re getting one that focuses on quality fibers, not a cheap infill mix.