Types of Cremation Urns

From classic traditional urns to more modern takes, you may be surprised by the number of options available to you. There are burial urns available to meet every taste and style. Despite the variety, urns fall into two basic categories: permanent and non-permanent. The key difference is that permanent urns do not degrade over time. Non-permanent urns, also referred to as biodegradable, will decompose. Whether or not an urn is permanent or biodegradable depends on the material it is made of.

Permanent urns are typically made of glass, hardwood, metal, ceramic, bronze or marble. You can find them in hundreds of styles. In addition to traditional urns, examples of the types of permanent memorial urns for storage of cremation remains are:

You can select a permanent urn based on the material it is made of or its style, you can also find urns that are suitable for interring the remains of two people who want to share their final resting place. These are called companion urns. If you are looking for an urn to memorialize the untimely death of a child, you may want to investigate urns specifically designed for infant or child remains. If you are planning to divide the remains among friends or family members you can choose from a variety of smaller memorial urns designed for this purpose. If you plan to travel with the remains, be sure to take into account airline and security regulations (see our page on transporting ashes).

If you are looking for something a little less traditional you may opt for something more unusual such as a teddy bear which includes storage for remains or an hourglass that holds your loved one’s ashes rather than sand. Despite the number options available when it comes to permanent burial urns, sometimes the best choice is to have an urn specially designed to fit the personality of your loved one or the style of the space where it will be stored. There are numerous personalization and customization options available.

Non-permanent urns are typically made of paper but you may also find them made of salt, cornstarch, gelatin or other degradable materials. Biodegradable urns are thought to be an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional urns since they don’t leave behind permanent materials and are becoming increasingly more popular. Biodegradable urns are available in designs suitable for display, burial or for scattering (visit our page on scattering ashes for more information). There are also options for use in water burials. Some biodegradable urns may have seeds embedded in the paper which will produce a tree or other plant after it decomposes. Others are designed as bird houses. The choices are many and growing by the day.

With the number of options available, the job of selecting the perfect urn to honor your loved one can seem a daunting task. You can make the selection a bit easier by narrowing down your options. For more information on how to go about this, visit our page on how to buy an urn.

Varieties of urns include:

Metal Urns


Bronze Urn

Metals such as copper, bronze, and stainless steel are commonly used to make urns.

 
Stone Urns


Marble Urn

Urns are made in marble and granite.

 
Ceramic Urns


Ceramic Urn

Ceramics urns are a colorful option.

 
Hardwood Urns


Cherry Urn

Urns are made of solid wood, such as mahogany, walnut, cherry, maple, and oak.

 
Sculpted Artwork Urns


Dolphin Urn

Some urns are reproduced from sculpted artwork.

 
Mini Urns


Keepsake Urn

Mini urns are small containers that allow family members to have a small amount of cremated remains as a keepsake. Some come in the form of necklaces.


See related topics:

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

Go to Funeral Guide — Index of Topics.