The 101 Talk About Caskets that Everybody Needs to Read

Nobody likes to plan a funeral service, especially when it’s for a loved one. You go through a carousel of intense emotions, which can be quite exhausting and overwhelming. The last thing you have the energy for is choosing a casket. However, the casket is the focal point of most typical funerals. It sits right in the center of everything, and is on display everybody to see.

Casket and coffin image 4994994The casket is the original item for a regular funeral. It is where we place the deceased person’s body.  Choosing a suitable one is not an easy task, especially if those arranging the funeral are overcome with grief.

Unfortunately, especially if you don’t have a lot of money, a casket is typically quite expensive. When looking at funeral costs, it is invariably the priciest item.

What purpose does the casket serve?

The casket is a container that holds the body of the deceased person. It allows that person to be placed among the mourners with dignity. One could say that it contributes towards giving the person who died the best send-off possible.

It protects the dignity of the person who died, offering a more pleasant way to display and secure them throughout the funeral service.

Many years ago, caskets and coffins were purely functional. As long as the deceased could be placed in it, and mourners could carry it, that was all that mattered. However, since the early part of the 20th century,  aesthetics, elegance, grace, and style have become factors that influence customers as well as casket makets.

The market for elaborate caskets grew dramatically during the twentieth century as the middle class in the advanced economies expanded

Casket or coffin- how to tell the difference?

Caskets and coffins serve the same purposes – they provide a place for holding the remains of the deceased in the most respectful and dignified way possible. However, the design is what sets them apart.

A casket is not the same as a coffin, even though we use them both in funerals. A coffin is tapered (narrower) at the head and foot, but is wider to accommodate the deceased person’s shoulder area. Caskets are completely rectangular.

Luxury (expensive) caskets are more common than luxury coffins, i.e., coffins tend to be simple structures. In the United States, coffins are extremely rare today. However, this is not the case in other parts of the world.

How much should you pay for a casket?

As mentioned earlier, caskets can be quite expensive. The materials and craftsmanship required to build them are not cheap. Often, the customer may want to customize it, which pushes the price even higher.

You can get a basic casket, with little to no customization, for no more than one thousand dollars. Prices soon shoot up if the customer is after specific materials and designs. Some caskets can cost well over $10,000, especially if they’re made with expensive materials like mahogany or copper.

Malaysian golden casket expensive image
The Malaysian 14-karat Gold Casket costs approximately $217,000.

Don’t be put off by these prices. Remember, you can get one for just $1,000, Even within that price range, you can still find something that suits your taste and satisfies your and your family’s needs.

How come caskets are rarely cheap?

The raw materials that craftsmen use to make caskets tend to make them expensive. A stainless steel one, for example, is significantly cheaper than one made of bronze. Golden caskets are extremely expensive.

Relatives of the deceased usually place a great deal of emotional significance on the casket. It carries the body of their loved one – it also protects that person’s body.

This strong emotional tie means that most people are willing to pay a lot of money to have the best funeral possible. Some people may refuse to purchase a cheap casket because they would feel embarrassed or guilty. The price of the vessel that container their loved one, they feel, reflects the love they felt for him or her.

If your mind is set on a casket made with, for example, mahogany, you should be prepared to pay a premium. Pine, on the other hand, is about fifty percent cheaper than mahogany. Before considering which one to choose, make sure you know exactly how much you can afford. If you come up short, ask family members whether they can help.

What about markups? Why do they count as well?

It’s a challenge to be able to find the best price for the casket. You’re going through one of the most challenging times of your life. However, you should try to keep an eye on your budget throughout the whole ordering and customization process.

When it comes to markups, funeral homes have the highest, with retail showrooms coming in close. If you’re shopping on a tight budget, search online for the best offers. As with most other products today, online items tend to be cheaper than their counterparts in bricks-and-mortar stores or funeral homes.

You should also know that there are no rules about you having to buy a casket from a specific funeral home. There are laws  protecting the clients. Funeral homes must accept any casket you purchase from outside, i.e., they cannot refuse one from a third-party seller. It is important to keep that in mind when working out quotes with a funeral home.

What about green burials and burial shrouds?

Green burials

Green burials are slowly gaining popularity. Also known as “natural burials,” they are eco-friendly, simple, and a lot less expensive than a traditional funeral.

The main principle for a green burial is that both the body and the container are going to decompose naturally. There are no metal caskets to buy, no concrete headstones to use, and no embalming fluids either. Therefore, green burials are not only extremely environmentally friendly, but also significantly cheaper that traditional funerals.

Burial shrouds

Burial shrouds are also cheap and a biodegradable alternative traditional funerals. Shrouds can be made of cotton, silk, or linen – some are even embroidered.

What about the wicker coffins?

More and more people choose wicker coffins since they’re also very environmentally friendly. A skilled basket maker weaves the coffin by hand. Therefore, each one is tailor-made for the deceased person’s height and weight.

Wicker coffins are significantly cheaper than traditional caskets.


There are many reasons for which caskets are expensive, still. The type of material, the amount of customization, and the craftsmanship involved impact the final price.

Some people plan ahead for funerals by taking out a funeral plan, i.e., a prepaid plan. It is one way to make sure that your funeral costs are covered; or at least most of them. There are many organizations that offer funeral plans. Most of them are non-profit organizations.