Caskets can vary in price from $895 or lower for a basic steel casket to upwards of $40,000 for a gold plated casket. The type and quality of casket you want will be the biggest factor in price. However, how much a casket costs ultimately depends on the funeral home you’re visiting. One funeral home may charge $1,350 for a casket while the same one at a different funeral home will cost $2,500 so its important to know the factors that go into it so you can make the best decision.
Each funeral home has access to all the same caskets so you can typically find the same style of casket at every funeral home. There are three key things to know that affect the casket price: materials, features and brands.
What the casket is made of determines the cost of a casket more than any other factor because some materials are more expensive to obtain than others. There are numerous material options but when discussing the ones that impact price, funeral homes typically reference these: cloth covered, 20 gauge steel, 18 gauge steel, softwood, hardwood, semi-precious metal and precious metal. The different materials are listed below in order of least to most expensive.
Cloth Covered or Veneer Casket Costs
The most inexpensive caskets are made of cheaper materials like particleboard or fiberboard and many are covered in a decorative cloth to increase its appeal, like the image above. A veneer casket describes a casket made of less expensive under structure and covered in a glossy veneer to give it a beautiful finish. There are also simple particleboard options.
20 Gauge Steel Casket Costs
Metal caskets are known for their durability and the “gauge” is in reference to the thickness of the steel. The lower the gauge the thicker the metal. The 20 gauge steel casket is probably the most commonly used (anything higher would be quite thin) casket material seen in funeral homes.
18 Gauge Steel Casket Costs
An 18 gauge casket is second most common and costs more than the 20 gauge because more metal is used in the creation of the casket. Caskets typically come in either 18 or 20 gauge.
Softwood Casket Costs
Wood is another popular material for caskets because of its look and lighter weight than metal caskets. The cheaper of the wood options are called softwoods. These include woods like pine, poplar, cottonwood, tulip tree and willow.
Hardwood Casket Costs
Hardwood caskets are made of more expensive materials which is reflected in the price. Hardwood caskets are made of birch, cherry, mahogany, maple, oak and walnut.
Semi-precious Metal Casket Costs
Some of the most expensive caskets you’ll see in a funeral home will be made of semi-precious metals such as stainless steel, copper, and bronze.
Precious Metal Casket Costs
Precious metals include materials like silver and gold. Yes, you can buy a gold plated casket. There are a number of funeral homes that sell precious metal caskets for more than $40,000. And yes, they have sold many. To real people.
There are a few features that can change the price of a casket as well. A sealer or gasketed casket means it has a rubber or silicone seal around the opening that when cranked down it has a tighter seal. The gasketed caskets cost more than the non-gasketed.
Customization of a casket will cost extra. Some caskets have hidden drawers to put in memorabilia, letters and trinkets with your loved ones. Others have the ability to embroider the cloth on the interior of the casket or provide custom carvings on the casket. If the interior is a higher quality cloth like velvet, the price will be more than the common crape and cotton polyester interiors. Families that require an oversized casket can expect to pay an additional price for the added customization and materials needed to manufacture it. There are vendors in some areas that can fully customize a casket as well which vary in price but result in some of the most expensive but most beautiful options.
Bigger brand name caskets tend to make casket costs more. Batesville and Aurora are some of the higher end brands. They make a great caskets and have the brand authority to charge for it. Some funeral homes will have contracts with casket companies and only sell their brand.
Other brands you might see are York, Matthews, and Wilbert who also produce quality caskets. There are also countless local companies that ship caskets in from China. Those caskets are usually priced lower because they don’t have the big brand names.