With thousands of urns and so many options to choose from, people often wonder where to begin in deciding which cremation urn is best for their loved one. Here are some practical tips to guide you through the selection process.
The primary purpose of a cremation urn, of course, is simply to hold the cremated remains of the deceased. But what will you do with the urn once it is filled with your loved one’s ashes? The answer to that question will determine the type of urn you need. To guide you in your selection, consider the following descriptions of the typical ways one might use a cremation urn:
Keeping the urn at home - Displaying a cremation urn in a prominent place in your home is one way to show honour and respect toward your loved one. Keeping the urn at home is a tangible way to preserve memories of the deceased and many families find comfort in the physical presence of their loved one’s ashes.
Scattering ashes - Scattering urns feature a top opening designed to easily release the cremains. After scattering the ashes, the family may place keepsakes or flowers inside the scattering urn to memorialize their loved one.
Water burial - Biodegradable urns made from organic and recycled materials are designed to break down naturally when water is introduced, rather than withstand the elements. Urns designed for water burials are completely water-soluble and made to sink and dissolve quickly. Another type of
biodegradable urn is designed for land use - it may be buried in earth, displayed in the home, or inurned in a columbarium.
Columbarium niche inurnment - Size is the most important consideration in choosing an urn for a columbarium niche. Be sure to find out the dimensions (height, width and depth) of the niche and choose an urn that will fit within that space.
In-ground Burial - Burial containers and urn vaults are designed to support the earth around the urn and keep the ground from sinking at the burial site. A burial container is typically made of steel, polymer, or polystyrene and designed as a rigid outer container for a cremation urn, while an urn vault serves a dual purpose as both urn and burial container. Many families favor urn vaults for their affordability, and the attractive styling of urn vaults makes them suitable for display as well as burial.
Sharing cremated remains among family members - Rather than entrusting the care of a loved one’s ashes to a single person, families may prefer to share the ashes among several family members by dividing the cremains into two or more keepsake or sharing urns. Many people find comfort in their grief by keeping their loved one’s ashes close at heart, and by using keepsake or sharing urns, more than one family member can share in that consolation.
After you’ve determined the type of cremation urn you need based on the way you will use the urn, the next step is to determine the volume the urn must have in order to hold your loved one’s ashes. A cremation urn’s volume is measured in liters and refers to the amount of space inside the urn. As a general rule, you’ll need an urn with at least one cubic inch of space for every pound of body weight prior to cremation. For example, if the deceased weighed 150 pounds (70 kg) before cremation, you will need an urn that is at least 150 cubic inches (2,5 liters) or larger. If the measurements are very close or you’re just not sure which size to choose, we recommend selecting the larger size urn.