How to Buy an Urn in 2024

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 a 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 deciding at an emotional time. Luckily, we have made this “how to buy an urn guide” to narrow 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.

Shopping for cremation urns may not be a pleasant task, 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.


What Is An Urn?

An urn is a container or a vessel in different shapes, such as a box or vase, that is 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.

How To Buy An Urn

Buying an urn is a more involved process than you can think. You will make the final decision 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 members
  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 prevent 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 lakes, rivers, or seas, 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 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, consider the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requirement before purchasing 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 air travel choices.

Due to the TSA procedure, the urns for travel must not be made of metal. 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 service aspect 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. The 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 measuring the capacity of the urn is that 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 a 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 a maximum of 200 cubic inches or less of an adult.
  2. Medium urns – are needed when dividing the deceased’s ashes among family members.
  3. Keepsake cremation urns – are for a small number 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 a biodegradable water urn when 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 for 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.

Purchasing an attractive but durable vase is best if you plan to display the cremation urn at home. Consider the room where 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 choose is something the deceased would have chosen to have his remains stored in.


After determining the manner of disposal. With your budget, the size, and the 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 a Funeral home, but if you find 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 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 you, you can choose the one you want while helping your family avoid the stress of selecting at a difficult time.

If you’re buying for an ill family member, 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 display it to add a piece to your home décor.

You will also save when ordering the urn 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 can select an urn that is a perfect memorial to your loved one.

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

How Can Funeral Funds Help Me?

Finding a policy for cremation and urn needn’t be frustrating; 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.

We will work with you every step to find the plan that fits your financial requirements and budget. You don’t have to waste your precious time searching for multiple insurance companies because we will do the dirty work for you.

We will shop your case to different insurance carriers and get you the best price.

We work with many A+ rated insurance carriers that specialize in covering high-risk clients like you.  We will search all those companies to get the best rate. We will match you up with the best burial insurance company that gives the best rate.

We will assist you in securing the coverage you need at a rate you can afford. So, if you are looking for pre-paid funeral insurance, or pre-paid burial insurance, or pre-paid life insurance.

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

Additional Questions & Answers On How To Buy An Urn

Can I buy my own cremation urn?

Yes, you can buy your own cremation urn from any urn provider. You can even build your own cremation urn.

How do I choose an urn?

As a rule of thumb, you will need at least one cubic inch of urn space for every pound of body weight. For example, if you weigh 180 pounds before cremation, you need 180 cubic inches of urn space or larger to fit your ashes in.

How much does it cost to buy an urn?

Most regular urns for adults can cost between $50 and $2,000, depending on the size and materials.  Small keepsake urns can cost between $25 and $60. Companion urns that hold the ashes of two people can cost between $350 and $600.

What is the average cost of a cremation urn?

According to the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) the average cost of a cremation urn is $295.

What is the cheapest way to be cremated?

The cheapest way to be cremated is through direct cremation without a casket and funeral ceremony.

How much does it cost to put ashes in a wall?

One way of putting your loved one’s ashes on a wall is through internment in a cemetery or a columbarium. Columbarium niches can cost between $400 and $2,000, plus the cost of internment.

Where would you buy an urn?

You can buy cremation urns from funeral homes, online urn makers and retailers, and specialty urn makers.

Where should I buy an urn?

You can buy urns from different sources like:

  • Funeral homes near your location
  • Big retailers like Amazon, Costco, or Walmart
  • Specialty retailers like Custom Urns
  • Artisans

Should I buy the urn from the funeral home?

No, you are not obligated to buy an urn from a funeral home. You can buy an urn from any urn provider. You can even buy an urn online.

How much does a small urn hold?

Adult cremation urns can hold approximately 200 to 250 cubic inches of ashes. Companion urns can hold around 350 to 500 cubic inches of ashes. Infant and child urns can hold 12 to 90 cubic inches of cremation ashes.

What size urn do I need?

The size of the urn should vary by the person’s weight. If a person weighs 150 pounds before cremation, you should need an urn that can occupy 150 cubic inches of ashes or larger.

How much do the ashes of a cremated person weigh?

Cremated remains of an average adult usually weigh 4 to 6 pounds or 3.5% of their original weight.

Who puts the ashes in the urn?

The funeral director or crematory operator will put your loved one’s remains into the urn for you. Sometimes the crematory operation will put the ashes in a plastic bag, and you can transfer the ashes to the urn.

Is it illegal to keep urn at home?

No, it’s not illegal to keep the urn at your home. However, if you are a Catholic, the Vatican is discouraging members to keep the cremated remains at home.

Is it OK to keep ashes of loved one at home?

Yes, you can keep your loved one’s ashes at home. No law forbids it. You need to check with your religious faith if they allow cremation and if keeping your loved ones’ ashes at home is okay.

Can you bury cremated remains in your backyard?

Yes, you can bury the cremated remains in your backyard. No law forbids burying cremated remains in your backyard if it is the deceased last wish. You can also bury the cremated remains on public or private property.

Do urns need to be sealed?

No, you don’t need to seal the urn. Most urns come with a threaded stopper that automatically seals them. But, if you want to seal the urn, you can use a gasket, caulk, or plumber’s tape.

How long do cremated ashes last?

Suppose the cremated remains are buried in a biodegradable container that balances the ph level of the ashes. In that case, the decomposition will be faster than burying the ashes directly in the ground.

Can you bury an urn on top of a casket?

Yes, you can bury an urn on top of a casket. Many cemeteries allow burying urns in a grave.

Do they give you all the ashes after cremation?

Most cremation facilities return all the ashes to the relatives after cremation. Only the isolated particles remain in the crematorium chamber.

Where should I put an urn at home?

It is ideal for placing the urn in a location with high positive energy. If your home faces northeast or southeast, the urn should be placed in the northeast or southeast part of the home.

Can you sell a used urn?

Yes, you can sell a used urn after scattering the ashes. You can sell your used urn locally or online using social media. Many people are willing to buy used urns to get a discount.

Is it bad luck to open an urn?

No, but it may seem disrespectful to open an urn.

What type of urn is best?

The best cremation urn is made of environment-friendly materials of any shape. Plain circular urn are considered the best because they are spiritually soothing.

What kind of urn is best?

If you bury your loved one’s remains in a cemetery, it is best to choose urns made of granite or marble. These materials will not disintegrate with time and can be buried in a cemetery vault.

What size urn should I get?

The size of the urn should vary by the deceased person’s weight before cremation. If the deceased weigh 150 lbs., you should get an urn that can contain 150 cubic inches of ashes or larger.

What size of urn do I need?

If you are buying an urn for a loved one, remember as a general rule of thumb, 1lb of body weight before cremation is equal to 1 cubic inch of ash. The cremation urn should be larger to accommodate the number of ashes.

Where do people place urns?

People can place cremation urns in columbariums, niches, urn gardens, or even at home.

What do people do with urns of ashes?

You can put your loved one’s ashes in an urn or keepsakes and turn them into jewelry. You can also put it in a columbarium or place it inside your home.

How long will a marble urn last?

A marble urn is made of sturdy material and can last a lifetime. You can place the marble urn in a grave. Sometimes, a vault will not be needed depending on the cemetery regulations.

What should urns be made of?

Urns can be made from different materials. But, the most used are made of ceramic and porcelain. The clean surface of ceramic and porcelain makes it the best choice for many people.

Do you bury ashes in an urn?

You can bury ashes in an urn if you decide to have an interment or place them in a columbarium. Ashes can also be scattered in locations that are allowed by the state.

Can you put an urn in the ground?

Yes, cremation urns can be put in the ground. The recommended depth is at least 36 inches deep.


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