What Is the Cheapest Way To Be Cremated?

Question: What is the cheapest way to be cremated?

Answer: Direct cremation is typically the least-expensive cremation option.

Sometimes, the Cheap Option Is the Smart Choice

Financial limitations are often an important concern for families who have lost a loved one.

You don't want to be "cheap" as you honor your departed loved one with funeral arrangements and memorials; but on the other hand, you still have to deal with reality and the realistic limits of your budget. In addition to the funeral bill, you still have your regular bills, perhaps lawyer fees, taking time off work, hours invested dealing with the funeral home, insurance companies, banks, and more.

Related: Here's a helpful List of Accounts to Cancel When a Loved One Dies

Cremation is often up to 50% less expensive than the "traditional" funeral and burial with embalming, a casket, and so forth. Simply choosing cremation is one way to save on your funeral costs.

Still, if your loved one is going to be cremated, it's worth it to ask: What is the cheapest way to be cremated?

The answer is a simple service called direct cremation.

Cheapest Way to Be Cremated: Direct Cremation

So, what is direct cremation?

Hit the link above for a detailed overview, but in short, direct cremation is where the body goes "directly" to the crematorium for cremation, without embalming, viewings, a funeral service, or many of the services traditionally offered by a funeral home.

By going directly to the crematorium, you avoid (or miss out on, depending on your perspective) many typical services, including multiple transportation charges, body storage and/or preservation fees, a casket, some traditional funeral events which involve the body, and various other costs.

As a result, you're only charged the basic cremation fee. This can run as low as $600 up to about $1500 or so (depending on where you live, competitive pricing, transportation costs, and so on. Add-on services will increase this price, too).

This means that the cost of direct cremation is significantly lower than the typical $3,000-6,000 you will likely pay for a cremation (with services) through the funeral home.

You can easily see the pros and cons of direct cremation.


  • Inexpensive
  • Efficient
  • Easier to entirely avoid the services of a funeral home for a DIY approach
  • Allows more freedom to schedule services (cremated remains don't decompose or decay, so there is no time limit on when you can hold the service)


  • Less traditional options
  • No viewing, visitation, wake, etc
  • No funeral service with the body/casket present
  • It can be overwhelming to try to take care of everything yourself

An Aside: Full-Body Donation

One more comment on the cheapest way to get cremated. You should know that there is also the option of body donation.

This is a significant choice, much different than organ donation. When you donate your body to science, you are allowing researchers to do pretty much whatever they want (and take however long they want) with the body.

So we don't lightheartedly suggest this as an option to save on cremation expenses. However, it's worth noting because when the researchers have completed their work, the body is cremated (at not cost to you) and returned to you.

Direct Cremation & Funeral Homes

Choosing direct cremation certainly doesn't mean you can't use a funeral home. In fact, many funeral homes offer direct cremation as an option!

You can arrange a low-cost direct cremation with the funeral home or by going straight to the crematorium.

(Pro tip: Call local crematoriums and funeral homes for quotes on direct cremation. Many funeral homes have special agreements with crematoriums (or operate their own), so you never know where you'll find the best price.)

Either way, you can still get the assistance of a funeral director. A good funeral home will help you get the death certificate, have a chapel or other venue that you can rent for a memorial service, and help you with other things you may not have considered.

If you do go with a funeral home, they will usually have a "basic services fee" that will cover the funeral director's time and expertise. If you're unsure about what to do, it is often worth it to have the advice and assistance of a professional. Just talk up front about costs, options, and your budget, and they'll usually work with you.

Cheapest Costs on Cremation Urns

Your choice of cremation urn is another way to save big on your funeral expenses. The funeral home and crematorium will usually have a selection of urns. Choosing one of their urns to permanently hold your loved one's remains is an easy option, but it's not always the cheapest.

Instead, you can shop online for your loved one's urn. There are many surprisingly low-cost options available at online dealers, especially if you are comfortable with a cheap import. Some of these can be as little as $39 for a decent-looking urn!

At Urns Northwest, we have a broad collection of premium cremation urns are highly competitive prices. Shopping in our store will help you save quite a bit in comparison to the huge markups of many local funeral homes and crematoriums.

Most of our products are made in the USA, and our very few imported items are sourced from the very best artisans and manufacturers.

Note - There are almost zero metal urns made in the USA, so your only reasonable options will be imported. Still, there are quality manufacturers and super-cheap manufacturers. For our metal urns, we source from the former, and avoid the later.

Our urns are of the finest quality, with a wide array of designs, themes, and personalization options. When you shop online with us, you won't have to choose between a fine heirloom urn and a reasonably-priced option - you can have both!

Learn more: How Much Do Cremation Urns Cost? And How Can I Save?

Here are a few examples of our most popular urns.

3-Dimensional Wood Inlay Art Urns

Soulmates Wood Inlay Art Cremation Urn

For more than a decade, these gorgeous wood inlay art urns have been our most popular series.

Each one is available in multiple types of wood (real Oak, Walnut, etc) and features a lifelike inlay wood art scene, set in layers to create a realistic 3D effect.

Choose from dozens of designs, including mountain lakes, lighthouses, fishing, gardening, horses, butterflies, and much more. Browse the collection here.

Hand-Blown Glass Art Urns

Glass Urns for Ashes

If you're looking for a stunning art piece, glass urns are the way to go. Artisan crafted in Oregon by amazingly skilled glass blowers, each memorial is colorful, unique, and beautiful. See all colors and shapes here.

Wall Mounted Memorial Plaque Cremation Urns

Beautiful and Affordable Cremation Urns

This is a wonderfully unique way to honor your loved one while displaying their remains in a very subtle, discreet way.

Our wall-mounted plaque urns are both a memorial plaque and a cremation urn. Between the front and back panels, there is space for the full amount of adult remains.

Made in the USA, fully customizable, and many designs/themes available. Shop the collection here.

Traditional Cultured Marble Urns

Stone Urns - Affordable Cultured Marble Urns

Our traditional cultured marble urns are available in many sizes, and present the ideal surface for a personalized laser engraved inscription. Shop the collection here.

Summary: How to Save on Cremation Costs

What's the least expensive way to be cremated?

  • Choose cremation (instead of a traditional casket burial)
  • Choose direct cremation (cremation before any service)
  • Shop around for prices (call crematoriums and funeral homes)
  • Keep additional services and products to a minimum
  • Get a cremation urn online

Shop Best-Selling Cremation Urns Here