Cremation Urn Buying Tips – Top 5 Things To Keep In Mind

cremation urns selection

Making the funeral and cremation arrangements for a deceased loved one is a tough task, especially when you are emotionally drained due to the grief. But, these tasks are also important because they give you an opportunity to commemorate your loved one’s life in a fitting way.

Cremation urns, in particular, can be used as cherished keepsakes and memorials. Thus, this is not a decision to be rushed through. You can take your time so that you make this decision with care.

Most crematoriums will return the cremated remains of the deceased in a temporary urn like a cardboard box or simply a plastic bag. You can then transfer the cremated remains in the cremation urn that you purchase.

things to keep in mind when purchasing cremation urn

Here are some tips to help make the task of purchasing the urn a little easier for you.

1- Determine the Purpose of the Urn

Before purchasing a cremation urn, you must decide whether you want to use the urn for display, scattering or interment.

Points to consider:

  • If you wish to store or scatter the ashes and keep the urn for display or as a keepsake then you may want an attractive yet durable urn. In such cases, it is usually suggested to choose a wooden, stone, ceramic, glass or metal urn. The choice of material will also depend on the placement of the urn, that is, whether it will be placed outdoors or indoors.


  • At times, family members decide to divide the ashes among themselves instead of keeping them in one place. In such cases, you can opt for a set of beautiful keepsake urns.


  • If you are to place the urn within a columbarium niche or mausoleum then you will need to follow their guidelines. So, contact the concerned authorities to decide upon aspects like the size, material and style of urn required for this purpose. Most mausoleums, for example, only accept metal, plastic and ceramic urns.


  • If you plan on ground burial then you can choose to do this either in a metal, bronze or wooden cremation urn, or simply in the temporary urn in which the crematorium returns the ashes. If you are planning to bury the urn in a funeral home plot or cemetery, check with the authorities on the type of urns they allow and whether they require the urn to be placed within an urn vault; most cemeteries require urn vaults.


  • If you want a more environment-friendly option then you may consider land or water burial in a biodegradable urn. These urns are meant to eventually disintegrate or dissolve after being buried in ground or floated in water.


  • In case you are interested in scattering the ashes then you can choose a scattering urn or tube which will add dignity and comfort to the process when you cast the ashes on the ground or in the air.determine the purpose of the urn


  • In case you are undecided about the way you want to honor the ashes of your loved one and yet need an urn for the memorial service after cremation then you can purchase a presentation urn for the time being. The urn will be large enough to even hold a temporary urn.


2- Choose your Price Range

Do some preliminary research and decide the amount that you are willing to pay for the urn. It will save you a lot of time and energy while purchasing the urn.

The price of urns tends to vary depend on the type of urn you buy. The price can be as low as $10 or as high as thousands of dollars. Most urns cost between $30 and $500. Customized and artistically crafted cremation urn are usually priced high.

Thus, it is advised that you set your budget beforehand, whether you want to spend reasonably or lavishly. Another important thing to keep in mind is the credibility of the source that you are purchasing the urn from.

3- Select an Appropriate Size

When purchasing a cremation urn, you also need to consider its size and the amount of ashes it is meant to store. The general rule of thumb is that each pound of body weight is reduced to approximately one cubic inch of ashes after cremation. For instance, the cremation ashes of a person weighing 100 pounds would be around 100 cubic inches.

You can thus calculate the capacity of the urn you require. In fact, to be on the safer side, it is suggested to select an urn with a little more capacity than the estimated volume of ashes. You can also take the measurements of the temporary urn in which the crematorium returns the ashes.

Plus, as mentioned earlier, you need to pay more attention to the urn shape, size and other specifications if you are to place it in a columbarium niche or bury it in a cemetery.

When interested in keeping just a portion of the cremated remains whether after scattering or burying most part of the ashes, or dividing the ashes among the family members, you can choose to buy a keepsake urn. Most keepsake urns have a capacity of one to 35 cubic inches.

4- Decide Upon a Theme

decide upon a theme

Deciding upon a fitting theme to commemorate the life of the loved one you have lost can help you memorialize that person better. Think about your loved one’s personality, their likes, dislikes, and other preferences to help you make the right choice.

For example, for a person who was passionate about music can be memorialized with a music themed urn featuring a musical instrument or just musical notes.

Similarly, you will find urns based on different themes such as nature, sports, fine arts, veterans, etc. You can consider getting a religious and spiritual urn as well. Urns featuring angels and praying hands are also preferred, especially for children.

If you are interested in engraved plaques or other ways to personalize the urn then make sure to check the scope for personalization in the urn you choose.

5- Options for Traveling with the Urn

If you plan to fly with the cremation urn then you need to consider the guidelines of the Transport Security Administration (TSA) in terms of the types of cremation urns you can carry while traveling. In such cases, it is suggested to choose from a selection of cremation urns are specifically meant for this purpose and meet the TSA requirements.

Do not choose an urn made from materials like metal, stone or ceramic as they won’t pass through the security checkpoint x-ray machines successfully and the TSA agents are not allowed to open and check through cremation containers out of respect for the deceased and their family. Furthermore, it would be better to check with the airlines as to whether they allow cremated remains in checked in baggage.

People usually use simple, lightweight urns made from materials like cardboard or cloth for traveling and then transfer the cremated remains in another proper memorial urn after reaching the destination.