How Much Does a Casket Weigh? For All Types and Sizes

When it comes time to plan a funeral for a loved one, we face many questions. Sometimes we can’t think of them all when we get time with the funeral director, so questions about the casket and the specifics of the funeral may not be easy to figure out when we finally consider it. So, let’s talk more about caskets and how heavy they can be. 

A casket weighs between 150 to 250 pounds (68 to 113 kg) on average, although the weight depends on the material and casket size. Many other factors can affect the casket’s weight, such as any add-ons and the size of the person inside. 

Let’s go into more details about casket weight. I’ll tell you how materials and other factors can change how much a casket weighs. 

Can Casket Material Affect How Much a Casket Weighs?

Casket material can affect how much a casket weighs. For example, wood is a lighter material than metal, but a wood casket can weigh just as much as a metal one with enough additions. 

You have to choose from a couple of different materials when picking out a casket. These materials can make a big difference when it comes to weight. 

Caskets are most commonly wooden or metal, but you may find other materials available. Some of the less common ones include wicker, cardboard, acrylic, and fiberglass.

So, let’s look at the average weight of the most popular casket materials:

The Average Weight of a Wood Casket

Wooden caskets can range anywhere from 150 to 200 pounds (68 to 113 kg), but the type of wood you choose will determine the exact weight of the casket. 

Some lighter options, like pine, only weigh about 150 pounds (68 kg). Pine is the most lightweight wood option you can get when it comes to caskets. 

Heavier wood caskets usually come in hardwoods like mahogany or cherry. These caskets weigh around 200 pounds (113 kg). That’s about as heavy as a plain wood casket gets, but many people choose these materials because they like how they look. 

Despite the variations in weight, wood caskets are pretty popular. People often choose them for the elegant and comforting brown and red colors. 

People rarely focus on weight when selecting the casket, but it is essential to consider. While mahogany and cherry are attractive options, they are heavier and more challenging to handle than pine. 

Take the weight of the material into account when purchasing your casket. Read our casket buying guide for more tips on where to find the best casket for you.

The Average Weight of a Metal Casket

While metal caskets may not look as warm and calming as wood caskets, they tend to run very similar in weight. Most metal caskets will run from 150 to 300 pounds (68 to 136 kg), but they can be a lot heavier if you want a thicker option. 

Metal may not look as good as wood caskets, depending on your preference, but they will better protect the body of your loved one from weather-related incidents. Metal caskets also last longer than wood, as they won’t deteriorate as quickly. So, there are plenty of reasons to choose a metal casket. 

You can get steel caskets that weigh close to 150 or 200 pounds depending on the size and any additions. 

Bronze is a much heavier metal option for caskets, and you can also choose a gold one if you can afford it. Both are close to 300 pounds (136 kg), even without the body. 

Additions That May Affect How Much A Casket Weighs

Any additions to the casket will add to the weight as well. Standard features like metal handlebars can add quite a few pounds. 

In addition, I have already discussed the differences between wood and metal material. Still, the thickness of the casket, no matter what material you choose, will significantly affect how much it weighs. 

It is also fairly common to decorate caskets with accents. While this is a great way to ensure that you will put your loved one to rest in a beautiful casket, it also adds some heft. Most accents added to a casket consist of metal parts, and they can add a few extra pounds. 

The interior of the casket matters, too. Foam-lined interiors with pillows and thick fabric can add a few more pounds to the overall weight, and if you add anything extra like blankets, be prepared to carry those to the final resting spot with the casket. 

You can also purchase caskets made for a certain level of protection. This is especially common with metal caskets as they keep the body of your loved one safer and preserved for a longer time than wood. You might even find some metal caskets that create an airtight seal that preserves your loved one inside. 

A double casket obviously has a large impact on the overall weight.

While each of these additions can help you feel better about the casket you choose to put your loved one to rest in, more additions mean more weight. So, consider that before deciding to add anything extra to the casket of your loved one. 

Close up of the black casket in a casket store.

How Heavy is a Casket With a Body In It?

The average weight of a casket with a body inside it is about 400 pounds (181 kg). This weight will vary based on the reasons we discussed above and the deceased’s weight. 

Many different factors can affect the weight of a casket. However, it is essential to consider the body’s weight. Your loved one may not weigh as much as they did when they were alive, although it will be close. 

During decomposition, bodies will lose weight. However, the embalming process is meant to preserve the body and hold off decomposition for a short period. So, the body will not lose much weight within the first week or so of death when embalmed. 

The Deceased Will Weight Less After Organ Removal

Autopsy patients and organ donors are a little bit different. 

Sometimes, during the process of an autopsy, organs are removed. Though they can be placed back into the body, sometimes they are simply incinerated. The body is sewn back up and embalmed without the organ if this happens.

Even if your loved one did not have an autopsy done, an organ donation would still have the same outcome as an autopsy. Doctors work quickly to remove their organs, and once that is complete, they will return your loved one’s body to you for proper embalming and burial. 

Our organs are heavy parts of our body, and without them, we can lose quite a bit of weight. So, the deceased will weigh less than they were alive if any of their organs were removed for an autopsy and not placed back in. 

Why Is the Weight of a Casket Important?

The weight of a casket is important to consider for pallbearers who will be moving it to the final resting place during a funeral. While it may not seem like something vital to consider, pallbearers need to handle the weight of the casket. 

When planning a funeral, it is vital to consider the weight of a casket. That also includes the total weight with your loved one’s body in it. 

Sometimes this may seem like an afterthought, but a lot can go wrong if you don’t consider this before deciding on a casket. 

Pallbearers have the job of carrying the casket to the final resting place. While there are usually multiple pallbearers chosen, it is still essential to consider the weight of the casket as they can be cumbersome to handle. 

Most caskets have handles on the side for easy transportation. So, grasping the casket should not be a problem. The main issue comes with the weight of the casket mixed with the weight of your loved one. As discussed above, the average weight of a casket with a body is about 400 pounds (181 kg). So, it’s nothing to scoff at. 

It Can Be Difficult To Find The Casket’s Center of Gravity

Contrary to popular belief, dead bodies do not weigh more than live ones. However, they can be more challenging to handle because there is no longer a center of gravity present to keep the body in position. So, pallbearers need to be prepared to support the total weight of a dead body and the casket. 

That means that you should choose pallbearers carefully. It is a big responsibility to carry the deceased, and they need to be able to hold their share of the 400 pounds (181 kg) to move the casket to their resting place. 

Prepare Pallbearers and Add More if Needed

If you plan to have four pallbearers to carry your loved one, they each need to handle about 100 pounds (45 kg). That’s if your loved one and their casket fall on the average scale. If the casket or your loved one is heavier, then the pallbearers may need to lift even more. 

For heavier caskets, you can have more pallbearers, which will help distribute the weight. There are enough handles on a traditional coffin to have six total pallbearers. While it may not seem necessary to have this many, you may be surprised at the final weight of the casket with your loved one in it. 

Sure, 100 pounds (45 kg) or less each may not seem like a lot, but remember that the pallbearers carry the casket with grace while walking simultaneously. Pallbearing requires coordination, and this becomes even more difficult when the body is in the casket as it adds even more weight. 

If the final resting place is somewhere secluded, you’ll need to factor in the long walk as well. 

Ensure the pallbearers know how much weight to expect before carrying the casket to prevent accidents. Otherwise, they may not handle the casket with the care it requires, or they may even drop it. 

What Is the Heaviest Part of the Casket Once the Body Is Inside?

The heaviest part of the casket when it contains a body is the top or the head area. That means that the strongest pallbearers should be carrying the head of the casket as this is where the most weight rests. 

The head is the heaviest part of the human body. So, it should come as no surprise that the top or head of the casket will be the weightiest part to carry. Funeral directors recommend that your strongest pallbearers handle this part of the casket to prevent any accidents. 

The head isn’t the only factor that makes this part of the casket the heaviest. It is also what is inside the casket. 

The funeral director will prop up the head of your loved one during the service to allow family and friends to see them during the funeral better. So, there is often a pillow or some sort of material there to provide support to the head. This prop can add to the overall weight of the top. 

It is common during a funeral to place things in caskets with our loved ones. Sometimes it is something as light as flowers or even jewelry. However, if anyone puts heavier materials like books inside, things will get more cumbersome. 

Usually, only the top half of the casket will be open in an open casket service. That means that anything loved ones place into the casket with the deceased is in the upper half near the deceased’s head. 

Any items added to the casket will only add to the head’s weight. So, keep that in mind when relatives and loved ones leave gifts for the deceased. Sometimes families choose to remove these things before burying their loved ones. If they don’t remove them, they can add even more weight to the top of the casket. 

Final Thoughts

A casket’s weight can vary significantly based on the material and the unique features that you choose. However, the average is around 400 lbs (181.4 kg). When it comes to casket weight, ensure you consider this before buying, as pallbearers may struggle to lift caskets that are too heavy. 

Overall, the weight of a casket will depend on many different factors, but it is vital to ensure that your loved one is laid to rest in a casket you like. So, consider the weight before choosing a casket, but understand that you can have six pallbearers to carry it. 


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Alex Noel

Hi there! I'm Alex Noel and live in Indianapolis, Indiana. I started this website to share my experience. My goal is to provide Americans a more fulfilling goodbye.

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