Purchase a casket or urn

Organize a Funeral

No matter the decision on final disposition, an object will need to be purchased to hold the deceased's remains.

For a burial, this "vessel" is called a casket. For cremated remains, the vessel is called an urn.

In either case, the FTC's Funeral Rule gives you the option of purchasing the casket or urn from the funeral home or online.

Read through the details to consider when purchasing a casket or urn in the modules below.

Helpful Tips


If the deceased will be buried, you will need to purchase a casket. Your funeral director can help you review options available to you for a casket, or you can purchase the casket online and provide it to the funeral home.

A casket is often the single most expensive item that's needed for a traditional full-service funeral. Caskets vary widely in style and price and are sold primarily for their visual appeal. More basic options will use less expensive materials.

Caskets can be made of metal, wood, fiberboard, fiberglass, or plastic. Although an average casket costs slightly more than $2,000, some mahogany, bronze, or copper caskets sell for as much as $10,000.

If you have specific budget limits, be sure to share this with the funeral director in advance.

Typical casket costs

  • Rental casket: $995
  • Metal burial casket: $2,500
  • Wood burial casket: $3,000
  • Green burial casket: $1,500
  • Cremation casket: $1,310
  • Alternative cremation container: $150
  • Vault: $1,572

If the deceased will be cremated, you can choose an urn to store the ashes, with the help of the funeral director or the crematorium director. You can also purchase your own urn to use.

Often when the deceased will be cremated, a casket is rented from the funeral home for the visitation and funeral, eliminating the cost of buying a casket. If you opt for visitation and cremation, ask about the rental option.

If you choose cremation, and particularly direct cremation without a viewing, the crematorium may require that you purchase a simple casket made exclusively out of combustible materials for the remains to be cremated in, called a cremation casket.

Typical urn costs

  • Cremation casket: $1,300
  • Traditional urn: $295
  • Alternative cremation container: $150

Casket Types

  • Metal caskets: Can be made of standard or stainless steel, copper, or bronze. May feature gold plating, gasketing, and other optional features. Can cost as low as $800 for a standard steel and upwards of $30,000 for bronze with gold plating.
  • Wood caskets: Cost is determined by the type of wood used to make it, but can range from $600 for a simple pine coffin to over $15,000 for mahogany or oak.
  • Veneered/Laminate/Fiberboard caskets: Are usually a less costly variant of wood caskets and covered with a wood veneer to make them look like a solid wood casket.
  • Fiberglass caskets: Fiberglass is a durable and lightweight material. It is usually used to make caskets for infants and children. They can be finished to look like wood or marble.
  • Cremation caskets: Are used in the cremation process and must be entirely combustible and non-toxic. They may be a simple container costing as little as $50 or can cost as much as $1,000 if you use a standard wood casket for the cremation.
  • Green caskets: Are biodegradable caskets that decompose and break down after burial. These may have a wide range of costs from as little as $50 for the simplest option to around $1,500 for more expensive yet still biodegradable material.
  • Rental caskets: By renting, you can also benefit from the use of a traditional casket only for the viewing.

Casket Features

  • Lid: May be one lid (full couch) or split in the middle (half couch) for viewing purposes. A half couch lid will show only the deceased's upper body during a viewing while a full couch will show the entire body.
  • Lining: You can choose what type of material lines the inside of the coffin. Typical options are velvet (most expensive), satin, linen, and crepe (least expensive). The lining may be advertised as leak or puncture proof to preserve the body. Casket linings can also be customized with imagery, logos, or patterns to match the deceased's interests. Casket linings can also including tailing options: tufting, ruffles, pleats, etc.
  • Exterior: There are many options to choose from for coffin exteriors. Handles, detailing and ornamentation can usually be customized. Wraps can be purchased to fully customize the exterior of a simpler coffin.
  • Hardware: More advanced hardware can be chosen to keep the casket lid open and tilt the deceased's body during the viewing. Coffin gaskets to protect the interior from the elements are another common upgrade, especially for metal caskets.

Urns are generally less costly than caskets, but they have a very wide variety of options.

Urn types

  • Standard urns: The Cremation Association of North America has set the stand size of an urn at 200 cubic inches. Small to large sized urns will be between 175 and 300 cubic inches in size.
  • Keepsake urns: Are smaller in size and meant for holding ashes when they are divided among family members, or for holding the ashes of children or pets.
  • Companion urns: Are urns meant to hold two people. They may be a single, large urn to hold the ashes of two adults or they may be two urns in a single design.

Urn features

  • Material: Urns can be made of a wide variety of materials - metal, wood, ceramic, glass, etc. The cost of the urn will be significantly determined by the material. The type of material will also determine the durability of the urn and options for customizing the appearance.
  • Shape: While urns are traditionally shaped like vases, alternative or non-traditional shapes can also be chosen. A more sculptural appearance might be chosen if an urn will be displayed. For example, shaped urns are common among sports fans.
  • Design: Urns can be customized in many ways through their design. Color, photos, emblems and other design features can be chosen to suit the preferences of the deceased or the survivors. For example, specially designed urns for veterans are common.
  • Biodegradable: If the deceased's cremated remains will be buried or scattered, a biodegradable urn may be a consideration.

If the deceased did not pay for or specifically request a burial or cremation, the surviving family must make this decision for their final disposition. Each option has benefits and disadvantages.

Cremation

Cremation is more affordable than burial, allows for more choices for final disposition of the remains, and loved ones can continue to keep the deceased’s remains near them for as long as they choose.

Cremated remains can be delivered directly to the deceased's survivors who can then choose to handle them as they wish: keep them in an urn or vessel at home, divide them among loved ones, or scatter them.

Cemeteries may accept cremated remains for burial or to be placed in a specially designated area called a columbarium. This means that choices regarding the urn, headstone, and burial location may still need to be made and there will be additional costs.

Some family members and cultures, however, might not be comfortable with cremation, and not every location or funeral home offers cremation.

Burial

A burial is usually more costly than cremation but it provides a physical location where people may visit and commemorate the deceased. With a burial, loved ones will have a physical location to visit the remains.

Burial is the more familiar and popular method of final disposition, which means that more family members might be comfortable with this method of disposition.

Burials are personalized through the family's choice of headstone, burial location, and casket. Treasured items associated with the deceased can be placed in the casket to be buried with the deceased.

Cemeteries have their own rules and restrictions for certain burial-related choices, such as the size, shape and type of stone used for a headstone.

Personal Considerations


Will you be buying the casket or urn from the funeral home/crematory?


Be aware of your rights to know prices and to use your own urn, among others. Ask for a price list first so you can match your options with your budget.

Don’t overspend on a casket. You can ignore special features like a gasketed coffin which is optional and adds to the cost of burial. A coffin gasket is a rubber seal that prevents the elements from entering the coffin once it’s buried.

Learn more about your specific rights when working with a funeral home or crematorium by reviewing the “Know Your Rights" section of the guide.


Conduct research online to find places where you can buy caskets. Bear in mind that shipping might add a delay and materials are subject to inventory availability.

Online caskets range in price from $700 to $4000+, so you can find many options within your budget and preference requirements.

Some of the benefits of buying a casket online include:

  • You can avoid funeral home markups
  • You can take your time
  • It can be less overwhelming to filter down caskets into you preferences
  • You can shop around at your convenience
  • It is easier to involve your family in the selection process

Exclamation_Icon.svgFuneral homes charge between $35 and $115 to store and refrigerate a body. Delivery delays may lower cost savings by increasing storage fees.


If you will be buying the casket or urn from the funeral home/crematory:

Be aware of your rights to know prices and to use your own urn, among others. Ask for a price list first so you can match your options with your budget.

Don’t overspend on a casket. You can ignore special features like a gasketed coffin which is optional and adds to the cost of burial. A coffin gasket is a rubber seal that prevents the elements from entering the coffin once it’s buried.

Learn more about your specific rights when working with a funeral home or crematorium by reviewing the “Know Your Rights" section of the guide.

If you will not be buying the casket or urn from the funeral home/crematory:

Conduct research online to find places where you can buy caskets. Bear in mind that shipping might add a delay and materials are subject to inventory availability.

Online caskets range in price from $700 to $4000+, so you can find many options within your budget and preference requirements.

Some of the benefits of buying a casket online include:

  • You can avoid funeral home markups
  • You can take your time
  • It can be less overwhelming to filter down caskets into you preferences
  • You can shop around at your convenience
  • It is easier to involve your family in the selection process

Exclamation_Icon.svgFuneral homes charge between $35 and $115 to store and refrigerate a body. Delivery delays may lower cost savings by increasing storage fees.

Actions to Take


Read more about the FTC's Funeral Rule


Organize a Funeral