It can be challenging to choose the right casket for your loved one. A funeral is a time of grief, but it is also a time for difficult decisions. While choosing the right casket can feel like one of the most difficult decisions, we have some tips to help you pick the right one for your loved one.
Here are some tips for choosing the right casket:
- Choosing the right casket size.
- Which material is best?
- Interior lining material.
- Half-couch or full-couch?
- Where to buy a casket from.
- Choosing the right casket color and design.
- Consider renting a casket.
Let’s talk about these tips in more detail and help you pick the right casket for your loved one.
1. Choosing the Right Casket Size
When choosing a casket for your loved one, the first thing to consider is size. Most people will fit in a standard casket. However, there is always a chance that your loved one may not fit in an ordinary casket. So, consider what size you will need before deciding on a casket because not every casket is available in larger sizes.
Standard caskets are 24 inches (60.96 cm) wide and 79 inches (200.66 cm) long. These dimensions are most suitable for your loved one, but sometimes they may not fit. There are things that funeral directors can do to help, like slightly folding their legs to ensure they fit. However, if your loved one is cutting it close when it comes to fitting, consider a larger casket.
Oversized caskets can come in a few different sizes depending on the manufacturer. Some companies extend the width of the casket but not the length. So, pay close attention to dimensions when purchasing an oversized casket. There is also a risk that an oversized casket may not fit in the vault. Consult with the funeral director before choosing a casket.
The best way to handle this is to speak with the funeral director. Be honest about the height and weight of your loved one, and the funeral director will be able to judge which size casket will work best.
2. Which Material Is Best?
Wood, metal, and steel are the best materials used to make caskets. Each of these materials provides different benefits and looks. Choosing the right material is an important step for finding the right casket.
Let’s talk about each material in more detail to help you make the right choice:
Since caskets were first popularized, wood has been the most popular choice of material. People use wooden caskets as it is a more natural material and reflects their loved ones returning to the earth.
Wood is also a very diverse material. You can choose between many different types of wood for the casket. Different types of wood will vary in price. You can get a mahogany casket if you can pay a steeper price or find cheaper options like pine. Whatever your price range may be, there will be a wooden casket that fits your budget.
The beautiful, old-fashioned style of wooden caskets makes them very popular, but there are some downsides to wooden caskets. First, they do not last as long as metal caskets. This means that they will begin to disintegrate when exposed to the elements.
Wooden caskets also do not seal as well as metal and steel caskets. In this sense, wooden caskets may not protect your loved one as much as you would like. The fact that wooden caskets don’t seal leaves your loved one’s body exposed to air and moisture, which will cause them to disintegrate faster.
Manufacturers started creating metal caskets to help preserve bodies longer after we bury them. Since metal caskets seal, they do not expose your loved one to outside elements like wood caskets do. Many people like the idea of metal caskets as they slow the decomposition process and protect their loved one’s body from the elements.
Some people don’t like how metal caskets look compared to wood caskets. As discussed above, wood caskets give a timeless, elegant look that some believe metal caskets lack. So, the choice between wood and metal is more about how highly you prioritize protecting their body compared to how elegant and traditional the casket looks.
Steel caskets are similar to metal, but they do not preserve bodies as well as metal caskets. If you are looking to preserve the body for longer, steel may not be for you. Steel caskets should not replace metal caskets if you have concerns about protecting your loved one after the burial.
3. Interior Lining Material
When it comes to the interior material of the casket, there are a few options to choose from. Overall, people tend to focus on the outer material rather than the interior because you see it more. However, the interior material will be on display for open casket services.
You should seriously consider what material would be best on the interior, since it is where your loved one will be resting.
Polyester is a common material used for the interior lining of a casket, but other materials like velvet, silk, and satin are also available. When you are choosing a casket, consider what interior lining material you want for your loved one.
4. Half-Couch or Full-Couch Caskets
Another important decision you will have to make when choosing a casket is half-couch or full-couch layout. The caskets you commonly see that feature a lid in two parts are half-couch. This allows for the upper body of your loved one to show during the service while their lower body remains covered by the other part of the lid.
Full-couch caskets have a lid that is one piece. It does not separate and you will have to open it completely for an open-casket service. While these are less common, you can use both effectively for the service. This decision generally comes down to personal preference.
The prices for full-couch and half-couch caskets are similar. So, choosing one over the other won’t affect the overall cost of the casket too much. Carefully consider which design you like better.
One reason it is common to use half-couch styles is positioning the body for a funeral service. It can be challenging to keep the lower half of the body from falling or adjusting during the service. Some people choose half-couch caskets to prevent disturbing body movements caused by gravity or accidental bumping of the casket.
5. Where To Buy A Casket From
Once you have a general idea of what kind of casket you want, it is time to start your search. First, you should know that the funeral home will be able to provide you with a casket, but they are not your only option for making that purchase. Let’s talk about the other places you can purchase a casket for your loved one and even save a little money.
First, plenty of online retailers allow you to purchase a casket, usually at a more reasonable price than the funeral home. Amazon and Costco are two examples of retailers offering caskets at affordable prices. Make sure you check with other retailers before settling on a casket if you want to save some money.
Some states regulate the purchase of caskets differently. Not all states allow places other than funeral homes to sell caskets. So, make sure you check state regulations before considering an outside company. In the states that allow other merchants to sell caskets, they have seen an increase in funeral costs overall to compensate for the loss.
It is important to note that funeral homes cannot stop you from buying caskets elsewhere. If they refuse to use the casket or charge you a fee, they are breaking the law. So, feel free to shop around. If the funeral home attempts to charge you or refuses to use the casket, they are breaking the law, you can report them.
With the law on your side, feel free to shop around for the right casket and look for deals from many different retailers before settling on the casket. If ordering online, companies will ship the casket directly to the funeral home, and you should not have to be there to receive it. The funeral home should be working with you no matter where you purchase the casket from.
6. Choosing the Right Casket Color and Design
Once you settle on the material and start looking at some caskets, it is time to choose the color and design that best suits your loved one. Choose from a wide array of colors for the interior and exterior parts of the casket.
First, the exterior design is available in a variety of colors. This is especially common for metal and steel caskets as they are easier to paint. Manufacturers mostly stick to traditional colors for wood caskets because people tend to purchase them to appear more old-fashioned. However, you can find each type of casket in various colors.
The interior of the casket also comes in different colors and designs. White is the most traditional interior color, but some people choose different colors for their loved one. Pink and blue are common interior colors, but there are all types of color variations available for you to consider.
7. Casket Prices
We already discussed shopping around for the right casket above, but let’s discuss prices. The average casket costs anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000, depending on the materials and where you purchase it from. This does not mean you have to pay that much for a good quality casket, especially if you follow our advice and shop around.
You can easily find a casket cheaper than that average on Amazon or other similar retailers. It’s never a bad idea to shop around and see what you can find. It is common for funeral homes to mark up the cost of caskets because many consumers aren’t aware that you can purchase from other retailers. So, take advantage of this knowledge and shop around.
8. Consider Renting A Casket
Another lesser-known option when looking for a casket is that they are available for rent. Renting a casket can save you a considerable amount of money. So, let’s talk about how the renting process works and why it is a good option for a funeral.
First, let’s break down how the process of renting a casket works. Manufacturers design rental caskets differently from other caskets. The outside is the same as a traditional casket, but the interior is completely removable. They will place your loved one inside a wooden box and place the wooden box inside the rented casket.
This means that the bodies of the deceased do not come in contact with the part of the casket that funeral directors reuse. The law requires the funeral home to clean the casket between each rental and inspect it for any contamination. If they find any contamination, they have to dispose of the casket. Renting is a safe, clean option monitored by legal regulations.
Once the service is complete, the funeral director will remove your loved one in the wooden box from the rental casket. They will be buried or cremated in this wooden box. You will use the rented casked for the service only and return it afterward.
Renting a casket can save you a lot of money regarding funeral costs. In 2019, the average cost of a rental casket was $995, so you can save about half the cost of a casket if you choose to rent one. If you want to rent a casket, let the funeral director know. They will be able to provide you with some rental options.
If you choose to rent, keep in mind that you will have fewer casket options. Consider checking with several funeral homes around you to see what they have available.
Choosing the right casket is vital for the funeral planning process. It can be difficult to determine what your loved one would like, especially if they didn’t leave clear instructions on what they want.
Making these tough decisions during a time of grief can be especially difficult. So, take a look at our tips for choosing the right casket and find one that your loved one would have appreciated.
- Trusted Caskets: Caskets Sizes and Dimensions
- Memorials: What Casket Materials Are There?
- Lincoln Heritage Funeral Advantage: 2022 Average Funeral Costs
- FTC Consumer Advice: The FTC Funeral Rule
- In Valhalla: Rental Caskets – Complete Guide + Pricing
- University Of Chicago Press: State Casket Sales Restrictions: A Pointless Undertaking?