10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Cremation Urns

People call all the time with questions they have about urns. While we definitely get some unique and truly original questions, 90% of the time it is a variation on the same handful of questions.

So I thought it would be good to just put together all the answers in one place. Here are ten things you... well, probably.... didn't know about cremation urns.

10 Things to Know About Cremation Urns for Ashes

1. You can buy an urn wherever you want

Funeral directors will typically point you to their urns. That's fine, that's their job. (We do the same thing.)

But don't think just because the funeral home is handling your loved one's arrangements that you need to buy the urn (or anything else) from them.

Legally, you are allowed to purchase any products or services from anyone you want, whether it be from the funeral home (which is often the most convenient) to purchasing online (which is often less expensive).

Learn more here.

2. You can get any urn you want

But you might need to wait for it. Some of our most beloved urns are handcrafted and take a while to make. This means that it typically takes time for the urn you want to be made.

3. There are no legal requirements about what to use for an urn

Yep - that means you can use any container you want for the ashes.

Use the "temporary urn" the ashes came in as the permanent urn. Use a ziploc bag or coffee can. Commission a super-duper nice urn.

Have it made out of plastic, cardboard, dryer lint, cement, blown glass, metal, wood, ceramic, and so on.

Of course, the cemetery or funeral home might have restrictions on certain types of materials, depending on where it's going to go (burial, in a niche, etc) and you may have to use a vault (see #6).

But if you're taking the ashes home, you can literally use anything you want.

4. You can display the urn at home, bury it in a cemetery, or put it in a columbarium niche

It's up to you. Those are the three most common options (plus scattering, see next) for what to do with the ashes.

There are plenty more options, some bordering on the bizarre. But those are definitely the most common that involve cremation urns.

Learn more:

5. You an use any urn you want for scattering

However, some might be easier to use than others. For instance, we have several urns that are specifically designed for scattering. These have lids that open, easily, from the top, so that you can pour out and scatter the ashes at the appropriate time.

But if you don't mind shaking the urn a bit, or flipping it over to remove a bottom panel while you're on a cliff edge somewhere, then by all means use any urn you want for scattering. Anything you can pour ashes into you can also pour them out.

More info: What Is a Scattering Urn? How Do You Use Scattering Urns?

6. You don't need a burial vault to bury an urn

However, most cemeteries can require one. Each cemetery has their own requirements so that they can maintain the grounds well and keep things looking and functioning well.

Since each one is different, you'll find some that don't require a protective outer burial vault, which will help you save on funeral expenses.

Learn more about vaults and urns for burial here.

7. You don't have to use the same urn forever

It's true - you can swap out the urn. This happens more often than you might think.

People decide to scatter the ashes, put the remains in a columbarium but need a smaller urn to fit, or simply decide they prefer another memorial.

Learn more: Is It Disrespectful to Open an Urn?

8. Unless you're putting the urn in a niche, the only measurement that matters is the inside, aka the capacity

Urn sizing is one of the most common questions we get. Essentially, you want to know the capacity of the urn - how much can fit?

Most adult urns are 200 cubic inches. This is suitable for most adults. The common rule of thumb we use in the industry is that 1 lbs of body weight is approximately 1 cubic inch of cremated remains. So, a 180 lbs person would need a 180 cubic inch urn.

Use our Urn Size Calculator to more accurately determine the size urn you'll need.

The outside measurements are only important if the urn needs to fit somewhere, for instance on a shelf or in a niche.

Read more:

9. Urns can be personalized!

Most urns can be personalized for your loved one with an inscription. Some might include a photograph, while others might be art pieces that maybe don't say your loved one's name, but they are custom hand-crafted just for them.

You can also set up a name plate or personalized photo frame next to the urn.

Here's our guide to urn personalization.

10. We can arrange rush shipping

While most of the urns we offer are made to order, you can still contact us to inquire about delivery by a specific date. Many times we can make it happen!

That's a huge part of our customer service team's role, making sure that you get the urn delivered in time for a service or burial.

Contact us for any questions about production, delivery, or anything else! We're here to help, and happy to do so.

Next, as you get started on your search for the perfect cremation urn, check out this list of our all-time most popular urns.