The casket will serve as the final resting place of your loved one.
It is one of the most important choices to make when planning a funeral service—and also one of the most expensive.
We understand that losing someone can be overwhelming.
In this article, we will briefly explain the different casket types. After reading, you can easily decide what casket type is the best option for your loved one.
Note: The words “casket” and “coffins” are sometimes used interchangeably. However, they actually have different meanings. We will not refer to types of coffins in this article—only caskets.
Preference and Budget
When choosing a casket, the most important options to consider are preference (your own, the family, and the deceased) and budget.
It’s uncommon to shop for a casket until you need one. Which means you have less time and opportunity to research all that is available.
Here are the first things to consider:
- Burial vs. Cremation
- Design & Appearance
- Environmental Impact
- Logistics (delivery)
Choosing Caskets According to Preference
The type of casket you choose will determine its overall appearance. So this is a good place to start. The most common options are metal and wood, but there are also more unique casket types like cardboard, wicker and even gold.
- Design / Appearance
- Environmentally Friendly
Besides appearance, material and construction do have an impact on the environment. Another thing to consider when choosing your casket type.
Choosing a Casket Based on Budget
You may choose a casket based on budget. Casket prices vary widely. The average price of a casket is a little more than $2,000 (Federal Trade Commission).
The $2000 price point largely accounts for standard caskets with common design. The cost of a casket can vary widely depending on the material and style. You can expect bronze and copper caskets to be significantly higher priced than pine caskets. And any customization will increase the final price.
On the other hand, if cost is not an issue, consider copper and bronze caskets or hardwood caskets made of high-end materials such as mahogany and walnut.
Online casket retailers offer caskets that are just as beautiful and well-made as what you will be offered from the funeral provider. However, they cost a lot less. (Including direct delivery to your funeral home.) Legally, a funeral home must accept a casket purchased from an outside source and cannot charge for doing so.
Different Types of Caskets
Here are different types of caskets that you can choose from. Here we focus on burial caskets, but there are also plenty of cremation caskets to consider if you are planning a cremation.
Metal and Steel Caskets
Steel caskets are the most popular type of casket. They are durable, versatile, and readily available among funeral homes and retailers. Steel caskets are either made of standard steel or stainless steel.
Copper & Bronze Caskets
Copper and bronze caskets are at the higher-end of metal caskets. They are made of semi-precious metals (non-corrosive) that last longer than steel caskets.
Copper and bronze caskets share a similar price point. They are a lot more expensive than standard caskets because of the material and structure. Even the interiors tend to be higher quality compared with other casket types.
Rental caskets are caskets that you can rent for viewings and visitations. The casket shell (outer portion) is very similar to any traditional casket, but a replaceable insert is used inside that is removed after use.
Rental caskets are available in many different materials and styles, mainly hardwood and metal. This is an affordable option that works well if a family plans for a viewing followed by cremation. it is also an eco-friendly choice for obvious reasons.
Pine Box Caskets
Pine box caskets are plain and inexpensive caskets made of pine wood. They are significantly cheaper than conventional hardwood and metal caskets. Pine caskets are also friendly to the environment because the component materials are easily biodegradable (no metal parts.)
Pine caskets are growing in popularity. They may not be the most aesthetic choice for viewings and visitations, but they are one of the best choices if you want an eco-friendly burial.
This is the most suitable option if you prefer a simple, low-cost casket.
Wicker coffins are made of woven materials such as willow, seagrass, or bamboo. The weaving pattern results in a natural-looking finish like a basket.
Wicker caskets are handmade and eco-friendly. They are suitable for green burials for two reasons. They have a minimal carbon footprint and decompose easily after burial. They are also fit for cremations because the material is combustible.
A cremation casket is a container that holds the body during cremation.
Human remains must be placed in an enclosed combustible vessel during cremation. This can either be a cremation casket that resembles traditional caskets (made of combustible materials), or it is common to use simple cremation containers made of cardboard.
Simple cardboard is the more popular choice for cremation because it is low-cost.
Cardboard caskets are simply burial containers made of cardboard. Cardboard caskets are surprisingly strong and can carry up to 300 pounds.
They are not limited to simple box designs. Many casket companies offer several looks and services to customize even further. Another option is to let friends and family decorate or adorn the outside with personal tributes. (Can be a great outlet for expression.)
Cardboard caskets work well for eco-friendly burials and cremations. They offer minimal strain on resources having a low carbon footprint. In addition, cardboard is combustible and easily decomposed.
How To Choose a Casket
Here are the important considerations before buying a casket. These steps will help make an informed decision.
- Establish a budget
This is essential, especially in the context of all the other costs of planning a funeral. Knowing the price point you can afford will help save time and make the process easier. There are many good options at all price points.
Because you are reading this, you are already well on your way to choosing the best type of casket for your loved one. Researching caskets will help make informed decisions and avoid any second guessing later.
- Personal taste
You or your loved one may have already established preferences for a casket. But if you are not sure, consider overall appearance. Do you prefer a natural-looking wood casket? Do you like metal casket with glossy finishes better? Do you have a preferred color? How do you want to present your loved one?
- Decide where you want to buy the casket
While it is convenient to buy straight from the funeral home, they do not offer the best value. There are trade-offs. It is convenient, but the options may be limited. Online retailers offer a wider variety and better prices. We recommend Titan Caskets. You can read our full review here.
- Transparency (Prices)
If you choose to buy from a funeral home, you can request a detailed price list of every casket they sell. If you want to buy online, you can browse by type or filter by price to quickly see options in your budget.
Know of your rights when making funeral arrangements. The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Funeral Rule outlines the rights that you have when purchasing funeral services. For caskets, funeral homes must accept a casket purchased elsewhere (online, big box retailer, etc) without any fee or extra charge.
Budget and personal preference are the two main considerations when choosing a casket. If you have a limited budget, you may want to start browsing for casket types that are affordable and made of inexpensive materials. If you want a casket that looks luxurious, you must be prepared for the steep price tag. In short, your preferences and budget go hand in hand as you decide on a casket for your loved one.
Often, caskets are something you don’t consider until you need one. But you can shop for caskets like anything else. Funeral providers will offer some options, but there are many more. Many companies sell caskets online and deliver direct. Funeral providers are obligated to be transparent with prices so you can easily compare your options.
No. According to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Funeral Rule, funeral providers are not allowed to make false and deceptive claims about the durability of a casket. Sometimes, these promises are likely just sales talk to entice you to buy an expensive casket. Knowing your rights will help you make a smart decision in buying a casket for your loved one.
Yes. Buying a casket online can be convenient. Most online casket retailers offer caskets that are a lot cheaper than ones sold by the funeral provider. You can simply order online and have it delivered directly to your funeral home. According to the FTC, the funeral provider is obligated to accept and use a casket that you purchase elsewhere.
The cheapest type of casket is made of cardboard. Made of inexpensive materials, cardboard caskets easily decompose when buried and they are highly combustible during cremation.
The most expensive metal caskets are bronze and copper caskets. For wood caskets, the priciest casket types are those made of expensive hardwood such as mahogany, maple, and cherry. Beyond those types, there are even gold caskets.
Thanks for reading! We hope you find this helpful. If you have suggestions, or feedback, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.