Once you decide on cremation you’ll be asked to choose the type of container you’d like to purchase for the cremation. To make the decision that’s right for you, it helps to know what the function of the cremation casket is and how it may differ from caskets that are used for burial.
The primary difference between a casket for burial and a casket for cremation is that a cremation casket cannot contain metal parts. A casket for cremation must be rigid, leak-proof, covered, and most importantly, entirely combustible. The reason the casket (or container) cannot have metal parts is that the deceased will be placed inside and both will enter the cremation chamber. In other words, the casket will be cremated along with your loved one.
While cremation casket is the term you hear most often, what is used for cremation doesn’t actually have to be what we think of as a casket at all. It is perfectly fine to use what is referred to as an alternative container. Alternative containers are similar in shape to a casket but simpler in design. They are made from a variety of materials including unfinished wood, cardboard, fiberboard, woven reeds, or composition wood products. Many of these are considered to be eco-friendly. Alternative containers can be very reasonably priced. A heavy cardboard container can cost as little as $125.
If you choose to have a funeral before the cremation you can purchase a traditional casket as long as it doesn’t contain metal. These are available in many beautiful styles in a wide range of prices. If you buy the casket from the funeral home you can expect to pay anywhere from $2,000 to as much as $20,000.
Note: You don’t have to buy the casket from the funeral home. By law, the funeral home is required to accept caskets purchased from third-party sellers.
Renting a Casket for a Funeral With Cremation
There is an option besides buying. You can rent a traditional casket to be used during the funeral service. These caskets are sometimes referred to as ceremonial caskets. While prices vary, estimates for rental of a casket for the ceremony are $750-$1,500.
How Ceremonial Caskets Work
Ceremonial caskets are designed to hold a removable insert container. The insert, normally made of heavy cardboard, slides in and out of the rental casket. After the ceremony, the deceased is moved from the casket to the cremation chamber. From the outside the casket looks just like a traditional casket.
Because the deceased is protected in his or her inner container, the body can be handled respectfully and with honor. The outer rental casket can also be sanitized between services.
The use of a rental casket can be arranged through a funeral home. Most providers that offer cremation can provide a ceremonial casket.