How to Choose a Cremation Urn

A Consumer’s Guide to Picking the Best Cremation Urn

One of the main things to keep in mind when choosing a cremation urn is that rushing to make a choice is usually not necessary. Many people assume that an urn has been available immediately after the cremation has been completed, but that is not the case. Crematories typically will package remains in a temporary container that is suitable for storage for a long time. In fact, stories are common in which families have left the ashes in their temporary container for years before finally transferring them to an urn.

A cremation urn is a vessel that will hold and protect cremation ashes

So, when you are shopping for an urn, you can rest assured that time is – usually – not a factor. Choosing a cremation urn is a deeply personal task, and there are an ever-growing number of options. It’s important that this decision, when possible, not be made lightly or quickly.

This is one reason why more and more people today are choosing their own urns – sometimes even while they are in middle age – and even displaying them in their homes for years before their death; doing that can be a great service to family members.

We have been careful to note that time is “usually” not a factor in urn selection: one case in which time can be a factor occurs when an urn has not been pre-selected but family members want to have an urn on display during a traditional memorial service a few days after the death. Pre-purchased urns can certainly help with this scenario.

The internet and low cost long distance services of today have made choosing a cremation urn a simple and even pleasant, experience for many families. It is common today for several family members to collaborate on an urn choice by using email and the telephone to explore together the myriad of choices available. When families take their time in selecting the right urn, and ensuring everyone’s input is at least considered, they may find that the process can even be healing, and they are moving a step closer to closure after the loss of a loved one.

The first step in picking a cremation urn is to determine fairly quickly what your budget is. A large number of great-looking urns are available for under $100, but even more elegant designs are available at prices up to $2,000. The more expensive urns are typically made from rarer materials and are usually more meticulously crafted. But that is not to say that many beautiful urns are available in the lower prices. In fact, it is often the case that families who originally plan to spend $1,000 on an urn often end up finding the perfect urn for their loved-one for far less. Because the selection is so large, establishing a budget can help you narrow the choices to a manageable size. You will certainly find plenty of urns to choose from no matter what your price range.

Next, it is important to verify the capacity of the urn needed. The basic rule of thumb when it comes to sizing an urn is as follows: One cubic inch per pound of a person’s healthy weight. In other words, if a person weighed up to 180 pounds in their healthy weight, then they would need an urn that held at least 180 cubic inches or more for the capacity. Most adult-sized urns hold a capacity of at least 200 – 220 cubic inches, so it is not uncommon for there to be a little bit of extra room in the urn.

Selecting a cremation urn often comes down to personal tastes and needs

After you have decided on a price range and the needed capacity, you should make sure your urn choice is suitable for the display method. If you intend to permanently display the urn in a climate controlled environment, then almost any one would be a good choice.

If you intend to eventually bury the urn or display it outdoors, however, you will probably need a marble urn or a metal urn (brass urns are typically not recommended for burial, however). Some families decide they would like to incorporate the final vessel into the memorial service, for which there are several urns for funerals available.

It should be noted that any urn will be suitable for burial if it is encased in an urn vault which cost $100 to $420 depending upon the style and materials. Some families include the urn vault as part of a burial ceremony and, therefore, require a more elegantly designed vault than those who place the urn in a simple-looking vault after any memorial services.

After one has established what will happen to the urn, whether it will be displayed in the home, in a niche, or eventually interred, it comes to deciding on the actual urn. The most important part of this step is to take into consideration the personality of the lost individual. If the person was serious or studious, perhaps a traditional urn for ashes is in order. This can be anything from a simple marble urn to a wooden cremation urn, or even one made of bronze. If they were more free-spirited, perhaps an urn that was artistically crafted would suit them. There are several ceramic and glass cremation urns that are hand-crafted by artists.

No one relishes the idea of shopping for an urn, of course, but the selection and pricing available from today’s memorial industry can make selecting the perfect urn a pleasant, maybe even uplifting, experience for family who may still be grieving.