Bespoke Coffins and Types of Caskets

Laura Broad[1]

Laura Broad

Money Savings Advice Bespoke coffins and types of caskets

Choosing a coffin or casket for someone you love can be an upsetting experience, but it is an important part of making funeral arrangements. With so much choice out there, knowing where to start can be overwhelming. This guide will give you an insight into different types of coffins and caskets available for modern burials or cremations.

What Is the Difference Between a Coffin and a Casket?

Functionally, there isn’t one.

Coffins and caskets serve the same purpose. The difference between them lies in their designs. Coffins are tapered at each end (the ‘head’ and ‘foot’ of the coffin) and tend to have six or eight sides. Caskets, however, are rectangular in shape.

How to Choose a Coffin or Casket

Coffins and caskets come in a wide range of styles, shapes and materials. When deciding on a coffin or casket, you may want to think about:

  • The type of service you are arranging, e.g. burial or cremation
  • If a coffin being eco-friendly is important to you or your loved one
  • The size of the coffin or casket needed
  • If you want the coffin or casket to be personalised
  • How much you want to spend on a coffin or casket

Types of Coffin and Casket

When choosing a coffin, there are a few decisions you’ll have to make. The first thing to consider is the material. Coffins and caskets, while traditionally wooden - or stone if you look even further back in time - come in a variety of materials nowadays.

Wooden Coffins and Caskets

Wooden coffins are what you could call the traditional coffin. They’re suitable for both burials and cremations and are available in all different kinds of woods, colours and finishes. In the UK, you’ll likely find that most coffins are made from wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council which means it is eco-conscious and has been ethically sourced.

Wooden coffin options include:

  • Veneered wood coffin. These typically include oak veneers laminated onto chipboard or MDF. They’re a lower-cost option compared to a solid hardwood coffin, but can be made to have a similar high-gloss finish if required.
  • Pine coffin. A simple, no-nonsense wood with a natural finish. Some people find them to be a good option for eco-conscious burials or cremations as the wood is untreated and won’t cause any harm to the environment.
  • Hardwood coffin. These are typically made of woods like mahogany, cherry or oak. They’re considered to be of higher quality and finish but do come to a higher price.

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Metal Coffins and Caskets

Metal caskets can be made from bronze, copper or stainless steel. These are the kinds of caskets that are popular in America, with the split lid that can be opened during the visitation if the bereaved family wish to view their loved one for one last time. If you’re considering this option, remember that metal coffins and caskets are only suitable for burials, not cremation.

Cardboard Coffins and Caskets

A cardboard coffin offers a more eco-friendly option. They’re modern and fuss-free, and you can even have a pattern or design of your choice printed onto the outside. Cardboard coffins also allow the unique chance for people to write their own farewell messages on the outside.

Cardboard coffins are 100% biodegradable making them a popular choice for burials and cremations alike. It’s also possible to use a cardboard coffin as an ‘insert’ into a metal or wooden one for the funeral service itself, before being laid to rest in the cardboard one.

Environmentally Friendly Coffins and Caskets

For the even more environmentally conscious, there are a number of ‘green’ coffin options including coffins made out natural materials like willow, wicker, wool, seagrass, banana leaf or bamboo. These eco coffins are biodegradable so are popular for woodland burials.

Bespoke Coffins and Caskets

A funeral is a chance to celebrate a unique life, and give someone a send-off that suits who they were as a person. For a coffin that really shows off the personality of the individual, bespoke coffins and coffin personalisation options are available.

For example, it’s possible to have a coffin specially engraved. You could add a military design for those with links to the armed forces, or even add the emblem and colours of a beloved sports team.

For a truly bespoke coffin, some manufacturers have turned coffins into works of art. If your loved one was the kind of person who would get a kick out of being buried in a coffin resembling their favourite car, a ballet shoe or canal barge, for example, you can have one custom made.

Typical Costs of Coffins and Caskets

While cost is not at all a measure of quality or how much you care about your loved one, it is something to bear in mind as you weigh up different coffin options. Also keep in mind that if you want a bespoke coffin or any coffin personalisation, these will come at an added cost.

Coffin TypeThe average cost in the UK
Simple cardboard coffin£100 - £300
Simple wooden coffin£150 - 400
Standard wood veneer coffin£350 - £500
Traditional wicker coffin£400 - £600
Handwoven willow coffin£700 - £900
Premium hardwood coffin£900 - £1100
American-style hardwood casket£1000 - £3000+
Coffin costs listed here are taken from manufacturers listed on the Good Funeral Guide.

Which Coffin or Casket Should You Use?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It depends on the use, the wishes of your loved one and the kind of send-off you want to give them. Whether they’d prefer to be laid to rest in something traditional and tasteful or lavish and extravagant, rest assured that if you can think of it, someone out there can make it a reality.

If you’re unsure of the options available to you, your funeral director will be able to offer advice on choosing a coffin or casket that fits how unique and special your loved one was.

How Can Money Savings Advice Help You With a Funeral Plan?

Here at Money Savings Advice, we have partnered with some of the UK’s leading Funeral Plan brokers. They have already helped thousands of people get the best Funeral Plan deal and they can do the same for you.

Choosing an independent adviser means they won’t recommend a scheme unless they are sure it is in your best interests. Their advice is also regulated by the FCA, which gives you an additional layer of protection.

If you would like to speak to one of these brokers who can provide you with a ‘whole market quote’ then click on the below and answer the very simple questions.

Money Savings Advice Author Laura Broad

Laura Broad

Laura is a professional content writer and learning designer, passionate about empowering people through straightforward, jargon-free content. When she's not reading or writing about all things personal finance, you can find her in the gym, barbell in hand.

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