How to Buy an Urn

How To Buy An Urn Image

Knowing how to buy an urn will alleviate the stress of buying an urn. There are various things to consider, which can cause stress. But, having a clear idea of the final resting place, and the material you want and knowing the price range will help simplify the process.

If you’re searching for cremation urn online, you will be surprised by the variety of available options. Cremation urns are available in different shapes, styles, and sizes, which can be expensive or affordable.

Some stores even offer personalized cremation urns. From simple wooden boxes to ceramic jars, there are different urns to suit your taste and budget.

The wide variety of cremations urns can be a bit overwhelming, particularly if you are making the decision at an emotional time. Luckily, we have made this “how to buy an urn guide” to narrow down your choices.

Take your time, consider your budget, and remember that you don’t need to purchase from the funeral home or crematory. There are many vendors to choose from.

It may not be a pleasant task to shop for cremation urns, but if you follow our guide in choosing a cremation urn, you will be satisfied with your choice even after your loved one is gone.



An urn is just a container or a vessel in different shapes such as a box or vase that are meant to hold the remains or ashes after the cremation. Urns are available in different materials such as wood, ceramic, granite, marble, glass, crystal, bronze, brass, stainless steel, resin, and other materials.

You can even have the urn custom made according to your specifications as the urns are available in different styles and prices.

Where to buy urns for ashes? You can buy the urn from funeral homes, crematories, online retailers, and other providers. Purchasing an urn is not mandatory because you can collect the ashes in a temporary container or transparent plastic bag from the crematory.

You cannot be forced to buy an urn from a funeral home as the Funeral Rule mandates all funeral homes to accept an urn from outside providers.

You can buy from the funeral home, but you have the option to build your urn or buy from online retailers. You can even use the temporary urn from the crematorium.


Buying an urn is a more involved process than you can think. It is a final decision you will make about a loved one, and you need to do it right.

Being hasty when buying an urn for the ashes of your loved ones may cause you to choose the wrong one. Avoid getting in a rush. Take your time to be able to choose the urn that demonstrates love and fitting to your loved one.


Select an appropriate cremation urn depending on your decision about the final disposition of the ashes.

Where will the ashes be stored after the cremation?

  1. Scatter the ashes
  2. Bury the ashes
  3. Home storage
  4. In a mausoleum or columbarium
  5. Divide the ashes up among family member
  6. Bring the urn abroad

Buying an Urn for Scattering the Ashes

When purchasing a cremation urn for scattering the ashes in a body of water, consider buying a biodegradable container. This will avoid the wind from blowing the ashes back at your face and be good for the environment too.

Research the law in your area about scattering ashes. In most states, you can scatter the ashes of your loved one overland on private property as long as you have legal permission.

Scattering ashes over water, such as lake, river, or sea, is often subject to federal law. For example, the Federal Clean Water Act (FCWA) requires that you scatter the remains at least three nautical miles from the coast. Ashes that will be scattered over the ocean must be in a biodegradable container. Make sure to check with the state’s law before you proceed.

Buying an Urn for Burying

If you want to buy an urn to bury the ashes in the ground or inside the mausoleum, you will need to check with the cemetery for their requirements. Green cemeteries only allow biodegradable urns. Ground burial requires urns made of wood, metal, or bronze.

Make sure to check the rules of the cemetery if they require a vault. This vault will protect the urn and keep the ground from collapsing.

Buying an Urn for Home Storage

If you plan to store the urn at home, you will need to put it in a safe area that is out of reach of young children and pets. When buying an urn for home storage, consider the material of the urn. Bronze urns can be so heavy it may be hard to dust or move.

Buying an Urn if you Want to Put it in a Mausoleum or Columbarium

Check with the mausoleum or columbarium to check their guidelines before purchasing an urn. Many mausoleums do not accept wooden urns, only ceramic, plastic, or metal urns.

Most mausoleums require a specific size, as each niche has its height and width. Make sure the urn you select will fit inside the niche.

Buying an Urn if the Ashes will be Divided Among Family Member

If you decide to share the ashes among family members, you can buy smaller urns for the remains. Usually, you will need a larger urn after the cremation and a few smaller urns depending on how many family members want to have a part of the ashes.

Buying an Urn for Travel

If you need to travel by plane with the ashes, make sure to consider the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requirement before you purchase an urn. The urn must be TSA compliant for travel.

The material on the urn must pass through an x-ray machine before it is allowed on a flight. Wood, plastic, glass, and non-lead lined ceramics are the best choice for air travel.

The urns for travel must not be made of metal due to the TSA procedure. If the urn is made of metal, it will show up as opaque on x-ray machines, and the security screener will not be able to see what’s inside.

You can bring the urn as a carry-on or as checked baggage. However, some airlines will not let you to check urns as baggage, check with the airline rules before traveling with an urn.

You can also buy a temporary urn that meets the TSA and airline requirements and then transfer the ashes to a permanent urn once you get home.


What is your budget? Deciding how much you need to spend before you start shopping for urns will help you narrow down your choices. Urns are available in a variety of price ranges.

Depending on the size and material, the urn can cost between $30-$500. Some may even cost more than a thousand dollars.

Consider this cost, how much money are you willing to spend on the urn. Funerals are expensive. You need to look over every aspect of the service to allocate funds for the urn.

Check if the deceased allocated funds for the urn or if it is included in their prepaid funeral plan. If you have a tight budget, buy an urn within your means. You can get a burial urn that is of excellent quality and beauty for less money by shopping around.


You need to determine the size of the urn before you start shopping. Cremation urn varies in size depending on the shape and design features. Aside from the height, width, and diameter of the urn, another important aspect is the containment.

The rule of thumb in regards to measuring the capacity of the urn is a pound of body weight is equivalent to one cubic inch of ashes. So, if your loved one is 150 pounds when alive, the urn should hold 150 cubic inches of ashes.

It is always best to buy a slightly bigger urn, just in case. For companion urn, which is meant for two individuals, add their combined weight to calculate the size you need.

  1. Full-sized cremation urn – can hold the maximum of 200 cubic inches or less of an adult
  2. Medium urns – are needed when dividing the ashes of the deceased among family members
  3. Keepsake cremation urns – are for a small amount of ashes to be kept in remembrance.
  4. Companion urns – for keeping the ashes of two individuals
  5. Extra-large urns – is also available for very tall (over 6 feet tall) or larger framed individuals

When buying an urn, consider the size and the manner of disposition. If you put the urn in a niche in a mausoleum or columbarium, you need to make sure that it will fit into the niche.

Call ahead to find out the size requirement before buying your urn. If you’re going to bury the urn, check with your local funeral home and cemetery for their specific policies on size limitations.

If the ashes will be shared with family members, use the one pound to one cubic inch rule in buying smaller keepsake urns. You’ll need to account for the amount of ashes the urn will keep when buying an urn.


Cremation urns come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Urns can be made of different materials from wood, ceramic, plastic, or metal.

Despite the kind of materials, there are two types of urns: permanent and non-permanent.

Permanent urns do not degrade over time. Permanent urns are typically made of hardwood, metal, glass, ceramic, bronze, brass, and marble. While non-permanent urns are made of materials that will decompose over time.

When buying a cremation urn, choose the material depending on what you intend to do with the ashes.

If you are going to scatter the ashes, a biodegradable urn is often an eco-friendly and affordable choice.

Environmentally-friendly cremation urns

Non-permanent urns are often made of paper, but some are made of salt, gelatin, cornstarch, or other bio-degradable materials. These materials are eco-friendly because they don’t leave permanent materials.

Environmentally-friendly urns are available in designs for display, burial or scattering.

Earth biodegradable urns – are designed for burying. Some biodegradable urns have seeds embedded in the paper that will produce a tree after it decomposes.

Water biodegradable urns – these urns are designed to biodegrade in water. Using biodegradable water urn when you are scattering the ashes in any body of water is eco-friendly.

If you are burying the urn, decide whether you like to have the urn preserved as long as possible. You can use ceramic or metal urn enclosed in a burial vault. If you want the ashes to quickly joined the earth, you can use a wood urn or biodegradable earth urn.

If you plan to display the cremation urn at home, it is best to purchase an attractive but durable vase. Consider the room in which you plan to show the urn, and you should consider this when choosing the material. You can choose ceramic, tinted glass, or metal urn.

Think of the personality and hobbies of your loved one when choosing the material for the urn. You can pick a theme such as:

  • Hobby themed urns
  • Sports themed urns
  • Military themed urns
  • Religious themed urns
  • Photo urns
  • Art themed urns
  • Memento urns
  • Urns for travel

When choosing the material for the urn, think of the departed preference first. Then consider the appearance of the urn, is it something your loved one would approve. Does it reflect his or her personality?

Make sure the material you will choose is something the deceased would have chosen to have his remains stored in.


After determining the manner of disposal. Your budget, the size, and material of the urn, you can now start shopping. You can buy urns from funeral homes, retailers, or online.

You are not obligated to buy an urn from Funeral homes, but if you found an urn that is perfect for you and at a reasonable price from the funeral home, go for it. Just be aware that you are free to buy an urn from any provider.

You can do your shopping online. Look at the catalogs and urn price list. The cost of the urn depends on the size and material. Do comparison shopping to ensure you will remain within your budget. Research the company before buying the urn. Make sure you are purchasing the urn from an established company.

Before buying the urn, check how many years the company has been in business. Check the Better Business Bureau what their record is for customer service. The company should be accessible and knowledgeable, and they must offer a guarantee in case the urn breaks in shipping.

Buying a cremation urn pre-need is a smart move. There are many advantages to buying an urn before you need it. If the urn is for yourself, you can choose the one you want while helping your family avoid the stress of selection in a difficult time.

If you’re buying for a family member who is ill, buying an urn in advance allows them to participate in the selection.

Even if you or a family member is not planning on dying sooner, it is advantageous to buy an urn pre-need. You can keep the urn in the box, or you can display it to add a piece to your home décor.

You will also save when ordering the urn in advance because you will not pay for rush shipping costs. Buying an urn pre-need saves you stress and excessive shipping charges.

With the wide variety of urns to choose from, you will surely find the perfect way to honor your loved one. The important thing is to take your time and explore your options.

If you are having a hard time making a decision, call a family member or a friend to help you decide. With a little patience and research, you will be able to select an urn that is a perfect memorial to your loved one.

While is it never easy to choose the right urn, especially during an emotional time, by following these guidelines on how to buy an urn, hopefully, the process will be easier for you.


Trying to find a policy for cremation and urn needn’t be a frustrating process; working with an independent agency like Funeral Funds will make the process easier and quicker.

If you have a health history or pre-existing medical condition, let us help you; we will work with you side by side to find a plan that fits your needs.

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Fill out our quote form on this page or call us at 888) 862-9456 and we can give you an accurate quote.


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