The 5-Minute Guide to Choosing a Cremation Urn

5 steps in 5 minutes to finding the perfect cremation urn.

Choosing a cremation urn is tough. We get it; we talk to grieving family members every day. There are probably many questions you'll have about the whole subject, and there are many more you may not even think to ask. That's why we've created this 5-minute guide to choosing a cremation urn.

If you'd like some personal assistance, give us at call at 877-900-5309 during weekday business hours (Pacific Time) and we'll be glad to help. Over the weekend, leave a message or drop us an email. Sometimes a few questions and answers is all it takes, and we're happy to give whatever assistance we can over the phone or by email.

Here we go...


The 5 Minute Guide to Choosing a Cremation Urn


1. First, let’s figure out what size of urn you need.

Are you looking for an urn for one or two people?

A. One adult - You're looking for a standard sized urn. Continue on to #2

B. Two adults - You're looking for a companion urn: click here

C. A child or infant - You're looking for a child or infant urn: click here


2. Next, how much much did the individual weigh?

Capacity for a cremation urn is measured in cubic inches; most urn hold the industry standard of 200 cubic inches. A good rule of thumb is that 1 lbs of body weight will equal 1 cubic inch of cremated remains. So a 200 lbs person will require an urn that holds 200 cubic inches.

A. 200 lbs or less - Any standard sized urn will work fine. Continue on to #3

B. More than 200 lbs - Check out these size charts: click here


3. How do you want to use the cremation urn? 

A. Display at home - Most of our cremation urns are ideal for display in your home. Continue on to #4

B. Interment in a niche - Your options will be limited by the size of the niche. Each cremation urn product page lists the dimensions, and we can build a custom-sized wood urn if none of our standard urns will suit your needs. Continue on to #4

C. Ground burial - Any urn can be buried in the ground. Some cemeteries will require the cremation urn to go into a protective urn vault, though most will allow a cultured marble or ganite urn to be buried without an additional urn vault. You may also be interested in eco-friendly biodegradable urns for burial, which help the remains go back to the earth in a natural way. Continue on to #4

D. Scattering the ashes - In theory, you can use any cremation urn to scatter ashes, but in reality some are better than others for this purpose. You'll be interested in our scattering urns for pouring or our water scattering urns, which biodegrade when placed in the ocean so you don't have to worry about a sea breeze spraying the remains everywhere.

E. Temporary storage or travel - If you're traveling by air with cremated remains, you'll need to be able to pass the urn through the security screenings. Here's some info. We recommend our fabric cremation urns, which are sturdy, screenable plastic covered with a lovely silk fabric in a variety of colors. This adds a sense of elegance and dignity to your loved one's remains as you travel. Wood urns will also safely pass through TSA security screenings (Note: we advise that you avoid any wood cremation urns with metal appliques when traveling).

F. Sharing remains among relatives - We offer a variety of smaller keepsake urns for use when dividing the remains among relatives. Many of our most popular standard-sized cremation urn designs are available with matching small keepsake urns, so many families keep the majority of the ashes in the standard urn, then get keepsakes for any relatives who would like a small portion of the remains. Browse our sharing keepsakes here.


4. Do you prefer a particular material for the urn?

A. No preference, I'm looking for a particular theme or style - Great! We'll help you find the right design for you. Continue on to #5

B. I'm not sure; are some materials better than others for a cremation urn? - The short answer is simply, no - all other factors being equal, it's a matter of preference. The longer answer depends on what you're doing with the urn (see #3, above), and various lifestyle factors. For example, if you have young children or grandchildren around your home, you may not want a ceramic urn to go on a shelf; a wooden or perhaps heavy granite urn would work better because they aren't as easy to bump over. Aside from incidental issues like that, all the urns we offer will last as an enduring memorial while keeping the remains secure.

C. Wood - Browse our wood urns here. If you're looking for a specific type of wood, find the wood type under our "Shop by Material" side category listing in the menu.

D. Ceramic - Browse our ceramic urns here. Most of our ceramic urns are made by hand to order just for you.

E. Metal - Browse our metal urns here. We also have our metal urns divided into brass, bronze, and pewter categories.

F. Stone - Browse our stone urns here. Our selection is chiefly cultured (i.e., man-made) marble and granite urns.

G. Glass - Browse our glass urns here. Hand-blown glass art urns in stunning colors, made to order for you in Oregon.


5. Are you looking for a cremation urn with a particular theme or style?

A. Yes - Wonderful! Check out our "Shop by Theme" listings in the menu, or find the "search" box above to find interesting niche designs.

B. I'm looking for something custom - We might be able to help you. We can't do anything protected by copyright (sports teams, comic book superheroes, movie characters, etc) but we can do quite a bit. Contact us with your idea.

C. No, my questions haven't been answered here - Then by all means, get ahold of us and we'll do our best to help! Click here to ontact us with your questions.


Read next: Our 12 Best-Selling Cremation Urns of All Time