Six Important Things to Consider When Choosing an Urn

By: Batchelor Brothers Funeral Services
Sunday, March 1, 2020

When you’re searching for a cremation urn for your loved one’s remains, it’s important to get it right. You may be surprised by the endless array of options available.

From modest wooden boxes to intricate, hand-polished marble, urns exist so suit every taste and price range. The wide variety of choices can be overwhelming, especially if you’re making the decision when you’re bereaved. The following six questions can help narrow down your selections so you can find the perfect urn for your needs.

1.     What’s your budget?
It may be difficult to think of terms of money when choosing an urn to honor a loved one, but these vessels are available in a wide range of price points. Deciding how much you want to spend before you start looking can help to narrow down your choices significantly.

2.     Will you be traveling by air with the cremation remains?
If so, make sure to consider the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requirements before you purchase an urn. The urn material 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. 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 may also consider buying a temporary urn that meets the TSA and airline requirements, and then transfer the ashes to a permanent urn when you get home.

3.     Where do you plan to store the urn?                                                                                        
If you’ll be placing your urn in a columbarium niche, the funeral home or cemetery can provide you with any specifications to keep in mind when you make your selection. For example, in some cases, the urn must be no larger than a certain size and made of certain materials. If the urn will be buried at a cemetery, you will also need to purchase an urn vault. Alternatively, if you plan to display the cremation urn in your home, you’ll have much more freedom and will likely focus on finding a vessel that’s beautiful and evocative. For example, if the deceased loved gardening, fishing, or some other hobby, an urn that reflects this motif can serve as a very special reminder. If you plan to bury the urn at home, check your local laws to make sure it’s permitted.

4.     What size urn will you need?
Cremation urns are typically measured in cubic inch capacity and the standard adult urn has an interior volume of about 200 cubic inches. According to the standard industry rule, one pound of body weight equals roughly one cubic inch of cremated remains. Therefore, a standard sized urn is appropriate for an adult who weighed approximately 200 pounds or less. Larger urn sizes are also available, as are smaller receptacles, including those for children. Companion urns are designed to hold the cremated ashes of two adults.

5.     What kind of material do you prefer?
Cremation urns can be found a wide variety of materials that can last for years, or even generations. Among the most popular are metal, wood, stone, marble, and ceramic. If you’ll be burying the urn in a cemetery plot, you may want to consider a durable cultured marble or granite urn, which offers the most protection. Eco-friendly materials, such as paper, sand, and gelatin, are typically used to make biodegradable urns. These “green” vessels are designed to return your loved one’s remains to the earth in a natural, environmentally conscious manner.

6.     Do you wish to personalize the urn?
Many cremation urns can have an inscribed metal plate affixed, while others can be laser engraved directly onto the surface. Some urns can even be engraved with a photograph of your loved one! Cremation urn appliques are also available in an endless variety of themes, such as patriotic, religious, and sports, to name a few. If you want to add an applique, make sure there’s a sufficient flat surface to attach it.

No matter what type of urn you ultimately choose for your loved one, it can create a special and fitting memorial. Our compassionate funeral directors are always here to assist you in your selection. Please reach out to us anytime.

About Batchelor Brothers Funeral Services: As a leading African American-owned and operated funeral and cremation organization serving three states, Batchelor Brothers Funeral Services has provided a ministry of care to thousands of grieving families. We promise to provide our highest level of distinguished service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved one. In all aspects of the funeral process, we strive to be the absolute best and are honored to help preserve our clients’ legacies for future generations. With two convenient locations serving North and West Philadelphia, as well as Drexel Hill, it is always our pleasure to be of service. Please visit our website for more information.

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