How Much do Cremation Urns Cost?
by Maggie Thompson
Options abound in the retail world of cremation urns. Customers looking to purchase an urn have dozens of styles to choose from in an array of materials and at a whole range of price points. We find that customers often choose an urn because of its aesthetic appeal, and where the urn will reside, as well as its price. Several variables affect cost, including the material of which the urn is made of, the size, type of urn, purpose for which it will be used and the style. Where you buy your urn also matters, as purchasing from a funeral home after a death has occurred can be one of the most costly options. If you're considering cremation, here is an overview that provides a frame of reference when shopping for an urn.
Urns - Materials
Urns are available in many materials. Each material has its own distinctive aesthetic qualities and durability. Listed below are general and approximate price ranges within each category of materials for urns offered by OneWorld Memorials. The large range within a category can be traced to size, style, origin, and whether the item is handmade. The chart will give you an idea of how much each material costs, so you can start narrowing down your selection.
Expect to pay more for premium materials, whether you're buying an urn or cremation jewelry. A 14K gold cremation pendant, such as the Yellow Lattice Heart costs $2,000. In comparison, the Sterling Silver Heart pendant is $210.
Urns for Ashes - Sizes
Urns are sized by their capacity in cubic inches that correlates to the amount of cremains they can hold. To estimate the amount of cremains you will need to house, you can use a simple equation:
1 lb body weight = 1 cubic inch
Based on this, a person having weighed up to 200 pounds should consider getting an urn with a total volume of 200 cubic Inches or more.
Size has some effect on the cost of a cremation urns for humans, although less so than other factors such as material. Keep in mind that if the ashes will be divided, a smaller urn may be more suitable.
Sizes available for human urns (on our site) are:
- Extra small urns – max of 25 cubic inches
- Small urns - 26 and 50 cubic inches of cremated ash
- Medium - 51 and 130 cubic inches of ash
- Large - 135 - 400 cubic inches of cremated ash
- Companion Urns - 400 cubic inches and upwards
For example, the large Rose Bouquet Hand Painted ceramic cremation urn has a capacity of up to 200 cubic inches and costs $159.95. The similar Rose Bouquet Cremation Keepsake is a much smaller urn made of ceramic. Notice on the product page, that it holds up to only 10 cubic inches and costs $39.95. This distinction is important for obvious reasons, but one not so obvious. You will find that some ads running for urns have very low prices. Some people fail to check what the capacity is and end up getting an urn that is too small, leaving them in a tight spot and having to quickly purchase a replacement urn. When you look at the full capacity urn and start selecting larger models, the price can go up quite a bit.
Cremation Urns for Ashes - Type and Purpose
The ultimate use of a cremation urn plays a large part in determining cost. If a family decides to divide ashes equally, a small memorial urn or keepsake for each portion usually suffices. On the other hand, if someone wishes to display a durable, large urn in a columbarium, a large stone urn might be a better choice. Think about how you plan to store and display the urn to find the right size and materials for your needs.
Listed below are urn types by purpose, along with common materials used. For an idea of cost range for each of the urn types, refer to the table above listed under the “Materials” section.
- Urns for burial, also known as funeral urns, are often buried in cemeteries or placed in columbaria. They can be used for green burials in earth and water. Funeral urns include biodegradable urns, as well as wooden urns for earth burials; marble, stone and metal urns are appropriate for columbaria.
- Some families prefer to keep a memorial cremation urn displayed in the home and give thought to what would look pleasing in that setting. Ceramic, wood, metal, marble and stone are popular choices for personal memorials. Memorial urns are often used to display at a memorial service.
- Keepsake cremation urns are smaller, designed to allow a portion of ashes to be kept in the home, or shared among family members or friends. Keepsakes can be found in wood, ceramic, glass, metal, stone and marble.
- Biodegradable urns are an eco-urn option, made to dissolve in water or decompose naturally in the earth.
- Scattering urns are most often for temporary use, designed to be lightweight for compatibility with hiking, air travel or other modes of transport to the desired locale, and easy to hold when scattering the ashes.
- Cremation jewelry holds a nominal amount of ashes in a pendant or bracelet, to be worn as an accessory recalling the memory of a loved person or pet. Cremation pendants and cremation bracelets are available in stainless steel, sterling silver, gold and titanium.
Cremation Urns - Styles
Cremation urns come in a variety of styles ranging from ornate to contemporary to basic. The style of the urn will be a determining factor in its cost. Generally speaking, the amount of individual attention and time involved in making an urn will be reflected in the price. Urns that are handmade and take more time to craft will be more expensive than plain, non-decorative urns. Compare the simply elegant style of the Natural Cherry wooden urn that costs $129.95 to the Gone Fishing wooden cremation urn at $524.95. Both beautiful, each one suits a particular style and budget.
Urns are available in many styles to match different tastes, personalities and purposes. Many people find it comforting to choose an urn that they think would make the deceased happy, while others choose an urn that will match their décor.
Consider classic or contemporary, simple or more detailed, traditional urn shape or a variation, a sleek wooden box urn or one with an intricate carved inset, an urn highlighting the natural beauty of marble or stone or one that features illustration of a meaningful image or design, or an artisan individually crafted urn.
As with urns for human ashes, pet urns vary in price depending on the materials, purpose and style chosen. Pet urns are an increasingly common purchase after the passing of a beloved pet. Keeping the ashes of a pet in an urn allows you to bury the pet on your own property or keep it with you in your home.
Options of urns for pets are decorated with pet friendly motifs, such as paw prints, nature images, pet photo urns, statuary urns in the shape of cats and other pleasing designs. Because pet urns are sized differently than human urns, be sure to check the urn capacity (listed as “Capacity” on an urn’s description page) for size.
How much to spend on an urn is often an emotional decision, based on aesthetics and relationship with the loved one. With the wide variety and price ranges of urns, a suitable and beautiful urn can be found that meets any budget.
Added costs to consider are:
- Engraving or other personalization - starts at $8.95 for a symbol. Prices vary depending on symbol and/or amount of text (note that engraving and personalization require an extra 2-3 days for shipping)
- Shipping – detailed information is available on our Shipping Options Below are a few basics, but be sure to check details for such things as holidays, shipping days, and carriers.
- Free ground shipping for all eligible orders in the US, delivery in 3-6 business days.
- Expedited shipping starting at $19.95 and dependent on location, 2-day delivery.
- Overnight shipping starting at $39.95, based on location, weight and timing, calculated at the time of check-out
Though cost is a factor in choosing an urn, it need not be a limiting one. First of all, keep in mind that a traditional burial with casket would have meant spending many of thousands of dollars. That said, you'll find at all the price points that satisfying choices abound, providing an aesthetically pleasing purchase that is a beautiful, respectful way to honor a loved one.
Maggie Shopen Thompson, MFA, is a freelance writer and writing workshop facilitator in Montpelier, Vermont. She has had experience as a caregiver for her mother many years ago, and for her husband and daughter during their recent cancer treatments and recoveries. She is a contributing author/artist in Healing Art & Writing – using creativity to meet illness, curated and edited by Patricia Fontaine, published in August 2016.