How To Choose The Perfect Urn

One of the most enduring myths about funerals is that cremations are less expensive than in-ground burials. In fact, you can spend just as much on an urn as a coffin and pay just as much for a place to display an urn as you would for a burial plot. Whether you are choosing an urn for yourself, or planning a funeral for someone else, here are six tips for choosing the perfect urn.

Tip #1. Consider Pre-Paying For The Funeral


The three most common materials used to construct urns are wood, stone and metal. Pre-paying for a funeral means drawing up a contract with the funeral home to hold a sum of money in a trust. This fund grows in value and is used to cover the cost of the funeral with any remaining money returned to the estate of the deceased. Pre-paying lets you lock in at today’s prices and saves any surviving family members from the burden of having to choose an urn when they are in an emotionally vulnerable state. One advantage of pre-paying is that you can choose a more expensive urn than you may otherwise be able to afford. A marble or brass plated urn can be comfortably paid for throughout a long-term contract.

Tip #2. Decide Where You Would Like The Urn To Be Stored

Any funeral home or online store will conveniently separate indoor urns from outdoor ones. Typically, indoor urns are cheaper and can be more elaborate as they do not need to be weather resistant. Indoor urns can be crafted from wood such as oak or ash and may be plated with brass or steel. Outdoor urns must be corrosion resistant and durable enough to protect cremated remains from adverse weather. Most people choose bronze, brass or a zinc alloy for outdoor urns as these metals do not corrode.

Tip #3. Choose A Location For An Outdoor Urn

A helpful tip for choosing the perfect urn is to consider where it will be displayed. You may choose a private garden or a memorial garden with many cemeteries catering to those who wish to buy a memorial plot for their urn. By thinking of the location, you will have a much easier task of selecting the right urn. Which urn compliments the surrounds? What natural materials are in that area? By matching the material of the urn to the surround area, your selection will be far easier.

Tip #4. Consider The Durability Of The Finish

Many urns can be personalized with religious symbols such as crosses or starts relevant to the beliefs held by the deceased during their lifetime. These engraved plates can contain any picture, image or text but may not withstand the elements as well as the urn. For instance, if you choose a stone urn for displaying outdoors, a metal tag or plate may not weather as well as the stone. If you must incorporate metal onto an outside urn, use an inert material such as zinc.

Tip #5. Calculate The Size

As a general rule of thumb, the urn should have one cubic inch of space for every pound of body weight the person had before they died. For example, a baby weighing ten pounds would need an urn with ten cubic inches of storage space. However, the Cremation Association of North America (CANA) has created an industry standard of 200 cubic inches, and even large people fit into these despite weighing over 200 pounds.

Tip #6. Decide Whether You Will Share The Remains

It is traditional to think that all cremated remains will be stored in one urn. This doesn’t have to be the case. You could buy several smaller urns allowing multiple family members to retain a portion of the remains. These are commonly known as ‘sharing urns’ for ashes. The next sizes down are keepsake urns and these are the smallest size of urns. Besides sharing, there are multiple ways of using a portion of cremated remains. Some companies such as LifeGem® use eight ounces of remains to create a synthetic diamond. Certain companies such as Celestis will send a portion of the remains to space. These options obviously leave some remains that must be stored or scattered.


These six tips should help anyone considering a cremation in New Haven CT to choose the perfect urn. How did you choose your urn? Let us know and leave us a comment below!