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.
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.
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:
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 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Type||The 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+|
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.
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