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How To Select the Right Size Cremation Urn

Cremation urns hold the ashes of a loved one. Perhaps these are the remains of a family member, a dear friend, a beloved life partner or a family pet. It’s natural to think of the urn as an individual’s final resting place, much like a cemetery plot.

Choosing a cremation urn is a part of end-of-life planning that often gets overlooked. Along with honoring the personality and wishes of the deceased, there are practical concerns to selecting an urn. This decision should be made thoughtfully.

The professionals at OneWorld Memorials understand how difficult the grieving process can be. To alleviate some of that difficulty, we have compiled this guide on selecting the right size cremation urn for your dearly departed loved one or pet.

What Size Urn Should I Choose? 

Many of our customers often ask this question.

By exploring a few additional questions, we can help make the urn selection process much clearer and simpler. The size of the urn is of primary importance, as it’s essential the cremated remains fit inside the chosen urn. It is also important to consider where the ashes will be placed because that may help determine the type or style of cremation vessel you choose.

There are important questions to consider before determining the size.

First, Determine the Final Resting Place for Your Cremation Urn 

Before selecting a cremation vessel, decide what you will do with the cremated remains by considering these questions:

    • Will the urn contain all the cremated remains?
    • Will the urn be interred in a family cemetery plot or in a mausoleum?
    • Will the urn be held in a columbarium niche?
    • Will all or some of the ashes be stored in a memorial urn displayed in your home?
    • Do family members wish to share the ashes and take home a small keepsake urn?
    • Do you wish to place a portion of the ashes in cremation jewelry as a daily comfort?
    • Will there be two adults ultimately interred together, making companion urns, an important consideration?
    • Will the urn be placed inside an urn vault?

Next, Select the Right Size Cremation Urn

Once you know where the urn will make its final home, you can then choose an urn by its capacity. Cremation urns are sized to correlate with the weight of the deceased person or pet prior to cremation. 

Extra small to extra-large urns are available. To help you determine the size that’s appropriate to your needs, here’s how those sizes work:

  • Determine the approximate weight of the deceased person or pet before cremation.
  • The industry standard indicates that one cubic inch of urn capacity is required for one pound of body weight. That means, for example, that a person weighing approximately 150 pounds will need a cremation urn of at least 150 cubic inches. 
  • Use this formula to calculate the volume of cremation your loved one will require: 1 pound weight = 1 cubic inch. (For example: A cat that weighed 11 pounds prior to cremation requires a vessel with a capacity of at least 11 cubic inches.)
  • Select the urn size by specifications of capacity in cubic inches. Find these specifications listed on each product page. If sizes are not listed, you may need to contact the seller for more information.

Remember that an urn for ashes cannot be too large, but it can be too small. It is okay to have extra space in the memorial urn you select, especially if you plan to include some small mementos with the remains. Refer to this chart for the general capacity of industry standard sizes: 

Choose a Style of Cremation Urn or Keepsake Urn 

Now that you understand how cremation urn sizes work, you can select a vessel appropriate to your loved one. If you plan to scatter ashes in nature, consider choosing scattering urns that add meaning to a ceremony, allow others to participate in the ritual and can be repurposed as loving mementos afterward.


The Noire Marble cremation urn is an example of an extra-small cremation urn with a capacity of 20 cubic inches. It is large enough to hold the ashes of a person or pet weighing up to 19 pounds prior to cremation.


The Cherry Photo Frame is a slightly larger but still small urn that will accommodate the ashes of a person or pet weighing up to 40 pounds prior to cremation.


The Ceramic Misty Mountains is an excellent example of a medium-sized cremation urn with a capacity of 60 cubic inches. As the chart indicates, medium urns generally offer a capacity of between 51 and 130 cubic inches, which is appropriate for the ashes of a loved one who weighed between 51 and 130 pounds


The Classic Bronze Cremation Urn is a large urn with a capacity of 190 cubic inches. This choice can accommodate most adults weighing up to 190 pounds before cremation.

OneWorld Memorials provides detailed information about each of its cremation urns, including the size or capacity of the urn in cubic inches on each product page.