In this article, you’ll find out why steel caskets and so popular and if they are appropriate for your funeral service. Read more to find out everything you need to know first before purchasing a casket.
In this article, we use the word “casket” to refer to funerary boxes. While “coffin” and “casket” are often used interchangeably, they mean different things.
About Steel Caskets
Steel is the most widely used engineering and construction material. It is used to make sewing needles, electronics, cars, and even caskets.
Steel caskets gained popularity when consumers started to look for products that last—something that they can count on. (Which is an interesting cultural phenomenon, considering the fact that caskets are not designed to preserve the body of your loved one. We discuss this transition further in our article on the difference between caskets and coffins.)
Before the twentieth century, most caskets were made of wood. However, wood is decomposable, and it’s not the most durable material available. When steel sheet metal became readily available after World War II, the manufacturing of steel caskets surged. It has since become the top choice for caskets.
Standard Steel vs. Stainless Steel
There are two types of steel in making caskets: standard steel and stainless steel.
- Stainless steel is the strongest and most corrosive resistant steel grade. It is more durable and expensive than standard steel.
- Standard steel, also known as carbon steel, is more affordable because it is not as resistant to corrosion.
Steel caskets are a type of metal casket. Other variants of metal caskets are bronze and copper, which are more expensive because of raw material cost.
Metal Gauge of Steel Caskets
Steel caskets are made in different gauges. The gauge indicates the thickness of the metal. The three common choices are 16, 18, and 20 gauge. You may also see 22 gauge.
The lower the gauge, the thicker the steel, which is counter-intuitive. Furthermore, the thicker the steel, the stronger and heavier it is.
- 16-gauge steel – thickest and most expensive
- 18-gauge steel – mid-range and the most popular choice
- 20-gauge steel – thinnest and least expensive
Both standard and stainless steel are available in the same gauges.
Gasketed vs Non-Gasketed Caskets
Any metal casket may be gasketed or non-gasketed. A casket that is gasketed contains a rubber gasket that seals the casket hermetically (airtight). It is designed to protect the body from any outside elements.
It is standard for steel caskets to have a gasket. However, some retailers sell non-gasketed caskets as well. These are usually offered at cheaper prices.
The gasket feature is exclusive to metal caskets. Wooden caskets do not have a seal because wood is porous and cannot be airtight. While a wooden casket technically could have a gasket, it would not render the casket hermetically sealed.
Note: Although a rubber gasket seals the casket and prevents penetration of outside elements such as water and dirt, you should know that it does not prevent a body from decomposing.
Why Should I Buy a Steel Casket?
Steel caskets have the following attributes:
- Durable and long-lasting
- Versatile in color and style
- Most popular choice
Metal caskets are sturdy and considered more durable than other choices. This also means they do not decompose easily compared to wood caskets. That may seam desirable, but also brings up environmental considerations – a conversation for another day.)
One reason metal caskets so attractive is because they can be finished in various styles and colors. Almost every detail is customizable. You can personalize the exterior finish, interior appointments, colors, hardware, and head panel.
Lastly, steel caskets are a very popular choice because the price falls mid-range. While not as expensive as a bronze or copper casket they do cost more than a plain pine box. Steel caskets are a common choice because they offer high-quality features at reasonable prices (especially from online sellers) and many people consider them to be the best value.
How Much Is a Steel Casket?
According to the NFDA in 2019, the average price for a metal casket was $2,500.
But for the price of steel caskets specifically, it can range from $1,200 to $5,000. This will vary according to the type of steel used, its gauge, lining, and style.
Considering the features explained earlier, a casket made of stainless steel with a lower gauge and a gasket seal will likely be expensive. However, if you are looking for something more affordable, select a standard casket with a higher gauge steel.
This given price range is mostly quoted from funeral homes. You can still buy steel caskets at much lower prices from online retailers such as Titan Caskets, Trusted Caskets, Fast Caskets, Best Priced Caskets, and other online sellers.
Where Can I Buy a Steel Casket?
The common option is to buy directly from the funeral home. However, most caskets sold at funeral homes have significant mark-ups compared to online retailers. You could end by paying thousands of dollars for a casket that you can get at a lower cost if you buy direct.
The alternative is to buy in an independent casket store or from an online retailer. Their caskets usually come straight from the manufacturer and don’t have to worry about the overhead of a funeral home, which is why they offer lower prices.
The best and cheapest option is to buy online. Online retailers such as Titan Casket help you save thousands of dollars without sacrificing the quality of the casket.
It is normal to be apprehensive about buying online. Especially for a large expense and a purchase as important as a casket. However, online retailers can easily ship steel caskets straight to your funeral home. They can take care of everything, leaving you stress-free while saving you serious money.
Remember: It is in the law that every funeral home must accept any casket that you bought elsewhere. They cannot charge you any fee to accept and receive it.
Titan Casket is a direct-to-consumer brand. Because you buy straight from the manufacturer, you get big savings by avoiding mark-ups from middlemen.
Titan Caskets are made in the USA and built with beautiful craftsmanship. What you get from Titan will probably have the same quality, if not better, as the ones available in funeral homes. The only major difference is the price.
The purchase may be online, but the process is seamless. You will be given regular updates about your order and delivery. During difficult times, it is helpful to know that your purchase is being taken care of. Your steel casket will become one less detail to worry about.
Here are the features we like about Titan Casket:
- Affordable Prices
- Free 2-6 day shipping
- Expedited shipping options
- Fully Customizable (Try their Design Your Own Custom Casket tool)
- Reliable Customer Service
- Made in the USA
A few other notes:
- They can deliver anywhere: residence, funeral homes, or other facilities.
- Titan Caskets serve the lower 48 states of America.
Standard Steel Caskets
Stainless Steel Caskets
Other Online Retailers
Other online retailers have a large selections of caskets. They sell quality caskets and a lot of them also offer free standard shipping. Some recognizable third party retailers include Walmart, Costco, and Amazon.
However, if you want to skip shopping around and just go straight ahead to the best online retailer out there, we strongly recommend Titan Casket. You can read our reviews about a variety online retailers below.
Casket Online Retailer Reviews
Funeral Homes – Choosing a Casket
Your funeral provider can help choose a casket. As a matter of fact, you can simply choose from their catalog. They may even have a limited selection on the premises, which means shipping won’t be an issue. The reason we provide information about online casket retailers is because most people don’t know it is an option. An option that provides more selection – ability to personalize – and almost always saves money.
Steel caskets weigh about 200 pounds (90 kg). Some high-end caskets with lower gauges weigh more and can reach up to 400 pounds (181 kg).
An 18-gauge steel casket is thicker and more expensive than a 20-gauge steel casket. When it comes to gauges, the smaller the number, the thicker the steel.
Steel caskets can range from $1,200 to $5,000 if you buy at funeral homes. However, some online retailers such as Titan Casket sell steel caskets for as low as $879.
No. A steel casket cannot be cremated because it is not combustible. A cremation container must be made of combustible materials such as cardboard or wood and it must not have any metal components.
Thanks for reading! We hope you find this helpful. If you have suggestions, or feedback, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.