The Different Types of Caskets

What to Look For When Shopping for a Casket

If the body will be buried, you will need to choose a casket. There are many types of caskets to accommodate varied tastes, sizes and budgets. They can be made of metals, woods, and fiberglass. The casket’s interior fabric can be of varied materials, colors and designs.

The types of caskets are:

Metal Caskets

Steel Casket

Caskets made of metal typically are more durable than those made of wood. The term "protective" is sometimes used in connection with the merchandising of metal caskets.

Bronze Casket

Bronze and copper are the most durable metals and are non-rusting. They are measured by weight per square foot. Therefore, a 48 ounce copper casket is 50% heavier than a 32 ounce model.

Stainless Steel Casket

Stainless and carbon steel are less expensive and come in different gauges of thickness, usually 16- 18- and 20-gauge. The smaller number is thicker and heavier, therefore, 16-gauge steel is thicker than 20-gauge.

Metal caskets are available with gaskets to seal the casket to help prevent outside elements from entering.

Wood Caskets

Oak Casket

Hardwood caskets are made of solid wood, such as mahogany, walnut, cherry, maple, oak, pecan, poplar and pine. The cost of hardwood caskets varies with the quality of the wood used.

Caskets made of wood veneers are less expensive than hardwood caskets. Cloth-covered fiber board or pressed wood are the least expensive caskets.


Caskets for Cremation

Crematories normally require that remains be enclosed in a fully combustible, rigid, leak-proof, covered container. The purpose of the container is to protect the dignity of the deceased and ensure the safety of the operator who will be working at the cremation chamber. This container does not have to be a casket but it will likely be the same one that is used to transport the body to the crematory.

Cremation caskets are similar in design to traditional caskets but they meet the criteria necessary for processing in the cremation chamber. That means fully combustible with no non-combusting metal. There are many beautiful and practical choices available at a reasonable cost. In addition to cremation caskets, you may also choose from a variety of alternative containers. Like caskets, alternative containers encase the body. These can be made from a variety of materials such as unfinished wood, cardboard, fiberboard, or composition materials. The alternative container may or may not have an outside covering. The key criterion is that the container be rigid enough to be safe for the operator.

Many people who choose indirect cremation (a cremation where a funeral service is held ahead of time) select a cremation casket that can be used for both the service and for the cremation. It is also possible to rent a ceremonial casket for use during services and purchase an alternative container for the actual cremation.

If you are purchasing through the funeral home, The Funeral Rule will apply. That means that you must be provided with a price list before you take a look at the options available. If you order online or through a casket retailer, The Funeral Rule is not a factor. You should also note that you are not required under any circumstances to purchase a casket for cremation. You have the right to select an unfinished wood box or alternate container.

Click here to go to casket features

See related topics:

Smart Shopping for Funeral Products
Casket Features
Burial Vaults
Cremation Urns
Grave Markers
Stationery for Funerals

Go to Funeral Guide — Index of Topics.

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