If you have just started your search for a cremation urn then you may be surprised by the wide variety of options available. From simple wooden boxes to hand polished marble there are truly urns for every taste and price range.
The wide variety of selections can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you are making the decision at a difficult time. Luckily, there are questions you can ask yourself in order to start narrowing down your choices.
How to Buy A Cremation Urn: Narrowing down your choices.
- What style urn do you want?
You want to make sure that the urn you select reflects the wishes and tastes of the deceased and his or her loved ones. If the deceased was concerned about the environment, a biodegradable urn may be best. If he or she had simple tastes then you probably don’t want a version that is overly ornate. Chances are, you’ll know which urn is perfect when you see it, but keeping the personality of the deceased can help make the process more personal.
- What is your budget?
It may be difficult to think of terms of money when choosing an urn to honor a loved one, but urns are available in a wide variety of price ranges. Deciding how much you want to spend before you start looking can help you narrow down your choices significantly.
- Where will the remains be stored?
If you will be placing your urn in a mausoleum, the funeral home or cemetery can provide you with any specifications that you need to keep in mind when you make your selection. In some cases, the urn must be no larger than a certain size and made of certain materials. A “Green” cemetery may require that your urn be made of biodegradable materials. If the urn will be buried at a cemetery you will also need to purchase an urn vault. The vault will protect the urn and keep the ground around it from collapsing. If you are keeping the urn at home you will need to think about where you will store it: will it be indoors or out, will it be buried? If you do plan to bury the urn at home, be sure to check your local laws to make sure that this is permitted.
- Will you be traveling with the remains?
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has special requirements for transporting urns. For example, urns must be able to be x-ray scannable. In addition, some airlines have guidelines for transporting cremated remains. Be sure to check with your carrier before you travel. It may make sense to purchase a temporary urn that meets TSA and airline requirements and then transfer the remains to something more permanent once you get home. (Click here to go to the TSA blog page that discusses travelling with cremated remains.)
- Will you inter all the remains or will you distribute them among others?
Your crematory can provide you with an estimate of how much cremains will be returned to you. This can help you decide how large you would like your urn to be. If you will be distributing the cremains between others you may prefer to buy several smaller urns.
- Will you scatter the ashes?
Scattering ashes can be a bit more complicated than it seems. Wind and weather conditions can complicate things so depending on where you plan to scatter them, you may want to purchase a container that is specially designed for this purpose. Learn more about Scattering Ashes.
- Would you like your urn personalized?
There are many options when it comes to personalizing your container. Many urns have a place for a photo or some other tribute to your loved one. Perhaps you would like to commemorate a special hobby or profession. There are also options available for couples, pets, and infants.
- How do you want to receive the ashes?
The crematorium will return the ashes in a plastic bag that has been placed in an urn of some kind. If you have purchased an urn, you can provide it to them in advance of the cremation and they will return the ashes in your urn. Otherwise, the ashes will be returned in a temporary urn. Since the ashes are contained in a plastic bag, they can be easily transferred to a permanent urn at a later time. Your funeral director will be happy to help you with handling and transferring the ashes.
It is important that the urn you select is the right size to hold the ashes. The capacity of urns is measured in cubic inches. The general rule is 1 cubic inch of urn capacity for each pound of body weight prior to death.
For example, the ashes of a 175 lb. man would need an urn of 175 cubic inches or more. Likewise, the ashes of a 25 lb. pet would require an urn of 25 cubic inches or more. If the ashes are being shared among family members, smaller keepsake urns are a good option and you can use the 1 cubic inch to 1 lb. rule of thumb when purchasing these smaller urns.
Some people choose to place keepsakes of their loved one in the urn along with the ashes. You’ll need to account for the space that any keepsakes will require.
The important thing is that you should take your time, consider all your options, and remember that you do not have to purchase through the funeral home or crematory. There are many online vendors. We recommend that you visit our store to see what we have to offer. We carry a variety of styles and prices.
Cremation Urns Come In All Shapes and Sizes
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:
- Sports themed urns
- Military themed urns
- Hobby themed urns
- Religious themed urns
- Art themed urns
- Photo urns
- Memento urns
- Urns for travel
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 cremation 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 keepsake cremation urns that are designed for this purpose.
Personalized Cremation Urns
If you are looking for cremation urn that is 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.
Environmentally-Friendly Cremation Urns
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. 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.
See the urns recommended by Funeralwise:
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