An easy guide to choosing an urn

Funeral Planning
guide to choosing urn

When someone passes away, one of the decisions that have to be made is what to do with the body. One option is cremation. 

This involves burning the body and then keeping the ashes in an urn. There are many different urns to choose from, so how do you know which one is right for you?

Here is a guide to picking the right urn:

  1. Factors to consider when choosing an urn

  2. The typical costs of urns

  3. The different types of urns

  4. Extra tips for picking the right urn.

Guide to picking the right urn

1. Factors to consider when choosing an urn

Choosing an urn for your dearly departed can be an overwhelming task, especially since there are so many different types of urns in the market today. However, by keeping a few key factors in mind, you can narrow down your options and find the perfect urn to honor your loved one’s memory. 


First, consider whether you would like to keep the urn for display at a home, for interment in a mausoleum, or if you will ceremoniously scatter your loved one’s ashes later on. This is an important decision because some urns are built for specific purposes.

For instance, an urn in the style of a simple wooden box would be fine for display at home, or as a temporary housing before you scatter their ashes, but won’t be suited for interring in some sort of resting place like a family mausoleum, because moisture, heat and other weather factors will erode it over time. If you plan on scattering all of your loved one’s ashes, you probably won’t need an expensive and fancy urn that’s meant for display and safekeeping. 

So, before you choose an urn, decide on how your loved one will rest in peace. 


One important factor to consider is the size of the urn. You will need to choose an urn that is large enough to hold all of your loved one's ashes, but not so large that it is cumbersome or difficult to display. 

Final Wishes

Perhaps your loved one detailed in their will what type of urn they want and how they want you to handle their ashes. Even if the departed doesn’t have a will, they might have simply told you their final wishes in personal conversations.

The first thing to consider when deciding on an urn is how you can fulfill the last wishes of your loved one. They might have picked out an urn already if they pre-planned their funeral.

2. The typical cost of urns

Cost is often a factor when deciding on an urn. If you're planning on having a small funeral or memorial service, an urn may be a more affordable option.

The cost of urns commonly range between $69 and $2500 depending on the materials of the urn you decide to purchase.

Urns come in a wide range of styles, materials, and sizes, so there's sure to be something that meets your needs and budget. Take some time to browse through your options and talk to a funeral director if you’re struggling to find the perfect urn for yourself or your loved one. It's important to do some research before making a final decision. 

The typical cost of urns

3. The different types of urns

There are many different types of urns available on the market. You can choose from a variety of materials, including wood, metal, or even glass. You can also personalize the urn to reflect the deceased's personality or interests.

Wood urns

These urns can be built out of any sort of wood, although cherry, maple, pine, oak and walnut are common choices. Urns made of wood are usually stained and decorated with inlays and laser etchings.

Biodegradable urns 

As green burial practices have continued to gain popularity throughout the funeral industry, environmentally friendly burial caskets have seen an increase in demand. Biodegradable urns are most commonly used when ashes are going to be scattered.

Biodegradable Urns

Photo urns 

Photo or image urns provide a solution for people who want to display a loved one's cremated ashes in their homes. Photo urns resemble picture frames, but they contain a concealed chamber where the deceased's cremation ashes are kept. The photographs on the urn can either be laser etched or inserted into the frame directly.

Religious urns 

Religious urns representing various faiths are offered with scenes and words that directly relate to religious and spiritual rituals. They usually include religious symbols such as crosses and prayer hands, as well as quotations from religious texts.

Art urns 

These urns are pieces of art with a concealed chamber where cremation ashes can be kept. Art urns are often more expensive than other types of urns due to the unique and time-consuming process of manufacturing these art vessels, but they are ideal for anyone looking for a one-of-a-kind way to pay tribute to a loved one. These kinds of urns are available in a range of materials, including bronze, glass, and ceramics, and are frequently handcrafted.

Hobby and sports urns 

There are a range of hobby and sports urns available if you'd like to honour the deceased by recognizing their specific interests and passions. Hobby-based urns are cremation receptacles that are specifically created to provide visual reminders of hobbies, sports, and other special interests. These urns are available in a variety of forms and can be used to commemorate a variety of interests, from hunting to ballet.

Military urns 

Families who have chosen cremation for a loved one who served in the military may be interested in a military urn to commemorate the deceased's contributions to our country. The eagle or other emblems of service are commonly etched on these patriotic urns, which can also incorporate seals for the United States Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, Coast Guard, and Army.

Keepsake urns 

Keepsake urns come in small sizes and are primarily used by families who wish to share the ashes of a lost loved one. These small urns also are useful for families who have scattered the ashes of a loved one but chose to keep a portion of the remains. Keepsake urns come in a variety of styles, shapes and materials.

If you are unsure of what to choose, speak with your funeral director. They will be able to help you select the perfect urn for your loved one.

To get started, you can compare funeral directors here.

4. Extra tips for picking the right urn

The urn is the final resting place for the ashes of your loved one, so it is important to choose an urn that is perfect for them. Here are a few extra tips on how to choose an urn.

  • Take your time: This is a difficult decision and you want to make sure you choose the right urn.

  • Ask for help: Family and friends can be a great help when choosing an urn.

  • Think about the material: Some urns are made from biodegradable materials, so they can be buried in the ground with the ashes.

  • Highlight their personality: Choose an urn that reflects the personality of your loved one who has passed away.

We hope this helps

To conclude, you'll need to think about the deceased's personality and interests, as well as budget constraints. 

Fortunately, there are many different types of urns available, made from a variety of materials. If you're not sure which type of urn is right for you or your loved one, finding a funeral director can help you make the right decision.

To get started, compare funeral directors here.

Additionally, If you would like to create an online memorial to remember your loved one, start an online memorial here.