How to Choose Urns for Cremation

If you decide on cremation, you will have a choice of containers to hold the ashes. You can find many different types of urns for cremation. Some of these are meant to be permanent vessels but others are only intended to temporarily hold the ashes until they are scattered or moved to other receptacles. At first, the number of choices might seem overwhelming; however, if you spend some time thinking about what you will use the urn for, your choice should get somewhat easier.

How to Choose An Urn for Cremation

These simple considerations can make it easy to select the right urn for a cremation:

Urn Sizes

Cremations might produce from three to seven or eight pounds of ashes. You’ll need to select a container that’s sturdy and large enough to hold the ashes. We can offer you guidance about the size of the urn that you will need.

Disposition of Ashes

If you intend to scatter ashes, you might just want a temporary urn. If you plan to leave the ashes in the urn when you scatter or bury them, you’ll want to be sure that the urn is made out of materials that are nontoxic and biodegradable. For example, you can purchase water-soluble urns for scattering in the water.


Permanent urns can be made out of ceramic, metal, stone, glass, or even wood. When selecting the material, you might want to consider how durable you need it to be, where and if you plan to display it, and personal preferences. For instance, if you plan to keep the urn outside, you will want a durable material that can hold up to the elements. If you are planning to bury the urn, you will need to know if the cemetery you are using has a specific requirement of the material the urn is made from. Many require an urn that “impervious”, which usually means that it must be made from marble or granite.

Decorative Urns for Cremation

In some cases, you may choose to display the urn in your home. You will then want an urn that is visually pleasing to place on your bookshelf or mantle. If you plan to place the urn in a niche or mausoleum in a cemetery, you should check with the establishment to see if they have any rules you need to conform to before you decide.

Keepsake Urns

In some cases, you might choose to give some of the ashes to some of the family members. You can purchase keepsake urns, cremation jewelry, and other items that each contain a small portion of the ashes.

Beyond these basic considerations, you can also have urns personalized. You might like to have the name or even a Bible verse inscribed on the outside. An urn for a veteran might have some emblem that represents their service. If you think about how you or a loved one would like to be remembered, choosing the right urn becomes much easier. Contact Boston Cremation at 781.322.0909 to learn more about how to choose an urn.


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