Types of Artificial Grass: Nylon, Polyethylene, or Polypropylene?

by | Feb 3, 2021 | Other

grass installation in mesa arizona

Since the introduction of the first artificial grass (under the name “ChemGrass”) in 1965, the technology and materials used to create artificial grass have changed quite a bit. There are three main types of artificial grass materials used today, each with advantages and disadvantages. It’s important to remember that in addition to these base materials, the best artificial grass products on the market today will include a variety of coatings and backings designed to reduce microbes and prevent fading, as well as installation options like odor-reducing infill. However each of these base materials will be better suited to specific applications. There is no one material that is “best,” only the material that is best for your needs.


Nylon was first used commercially in toothbrush fibers in 1938, and later in women’s stockings and hosiery (this is why some people still call stockings “nylons”). Today, nylon is the most commonly used material in carpeting, but it can also be found in seatbelts – any product where tensile strength and durability are needed. The very first artificial grass was developed in 1965 and was made of nylon fibers. Nylon is still used in some artificial grass applications today, and has some important properties that can make it a good choice for artificial turf, depending on your use.


  • Nylon is extremely resilient, which means the individual turf fibers will “spring back” and maintain an upright position. Because of this, nylon is the lowest-maintenance choice and will require the least amount of upkeep among these three choices.
  • Nylon is resistant to UV radiation, which means it keeps its color extremely well and won’t fade in the harsh Arizona sun.
  • Nylon is also the most heat-resistant of the materials available, with a melting point of around 460 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Nylon is highly abrasion-resistant, meaning it will not be worn away by friction or rubbing. Because of this, it’s very long-lasting.


  • The abrasion-resistant qualities of nylon have a downside. When friction happens, the less abrasion-resistant material will take the brunt of the damage – this can be the clothing or the skin of an athlete. Nylon is notorious for causing “turf burn.”
  • Nylon is easily stained by acidic dyes, such as those found in coffee or wine. However, it should be noted that the green dyes in most nylon turf do a good job of masking these stains.
  • Nylon is semi-permeable and absorbs water more readily than polyethylene. Because of this, it’s not a great option for pets.
  • It’s expensive to manufacture, meaning it’s the most costly artificial grass on the market.


Nylon’s key quality is its strength and resilience, as well as heat resistance. It is best used in high traffic areas or sports where tackling and sliding are not common. Good uses of nylon artificial grass include commercial applications like rooftop decks, as well as home applications like backyard putting greens. Nylon can also be found as a secondary fiber in some applications, such as athletic turf, where a combination of softness and resilience is required. If you are wanting a lawn with a thick pile, then you may also want to consider nylon materials somewhere in your turf.

Golf Putt Pro uses Nylon fibers for durability, resilience and low maintenance. 

Roofdeck Platinum uses nylon fibers for durability and heat resistance. 

SpeedTurf uses primarily polyethylene fibers with nylon secondary fibers to protect against wear and tear. 


There are many types of polyethylene with a range of densities. Because of this, it has a variety of applications, from plastic bags to large trash cans. Polyethelene is both the most recently introduced artificial grass product and the most commonly used material for grass fibers currently on the market.



  • It’s the most realistic-looking grass available and behaves the most like real grass.
  • Polyethylene is extremely resistant to water absorption, meaning it does not keep pet odors. If you are concerned about odors, this is the material you should choose.
  • It’s softer than nylon but more durable than polypropylene, making it a good middle ground suitable for a variety of applications. Turf burn is minimal and though it may require occasional brushing, it’s very low-maintenance and should spring back into place for most standard pile heights.
  • Polyethylene has a good combination of toughness and ductile strength – while it is not hard, it bends well.


  • It has a relatively low melting point, 248 – 266 degrees Fahrenheit. The addition of other polymers during the manufacturing process (sometimes the addition of polypropylene) can raise this.  
  • In its raw form, Polyethylene is susceptible to UV degradation – because of this it’s almost always combined with UV stabilizers. The final outcome of products like DualChill results in a grass product that’s very resistant to fading, but make sure that the grass you choose has added UV protection. Lower-quality grass that doesn’t include UV protection can become brittle in the sun.


The combination of softness, realism, and the lack of moisture absorption make polyethylene grass ideal for front and backyard applications, sports, and pets.




SynAugustine 347 uses polyethylene for a realistic look. 

Pet Platinum uses polyethylene for its odor-resistant qualities. 

SynSport uses polyethylene for its softness. 


Polypropylene artificial grass was first introduced in the 1970s and is still used in some artificial grass products today. Unlike nylon which only has two types, polypropylene is the general name for a group of polymers, and its properties can range depending on its specific composition.


  • When used in the blades of grass, polypropylene is the thinnest and the softest of the three materials.
  • It has a relatively high melting point, from 320-331 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Polypropylene is very resistant to absorbing moisture, making it good for pets and for backing applications.
  • It’s inexpensive – among the materials, it is easily the cheapest to manufacture.


  • Because it is thin and soft, polypropylene doesn’t have the resilience of nylon, and it’s susceptible to flattening, especially at taller pile heights.
  • Polypropylene is also not as abrasion-resistant as polyethylene or nylon, which means grass fibers will not be as resistant to wear and tear and will not last as long.
  • It is not as UV-resistant as nylon, and can begin to break down at temperatures above 214 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of this, it is commonly combined with other UV-resistant polymers during the manufacturing process. Make sure if you’re buying polypropylene turf, it has UV protection added.


Because it is highly flexible and can be produced in woven sheets for additional strength, polypropylene is well-suited as a backing material, and you can find it used in the backing for many artificial grass products. More recent SYNLawn products use EnviroLoc, a combination of soy and polypropylene. It’s less common to see polypropylene used in actual turf fibers. However you can often find polypropylene used in the fibers for grass for grass mats from big box stores and other products that are not meant for extended use.

Ready to Get Started?


Artificial Turf Topics