How to Shop for an Urn

Posted by Kate Ottenberg

What size urn do I need?

It depends on how you intend to use the urn. If you want your loved one’s ashes all in one urn, then we suggest you purchase an adult urn, which on average is approximately 200 cubic inches. As a general guide, one pound of a person’s weight equals one cubic inch of ashes.

What kind of urn should I buy?

You have a few choices: adult-sized urn; keepsake urn; biodegradable urn; or a pet urn.

Adult-Sized Urn

This will likely allow you to keep the all of the ashes in one place.

Keepsake Urn

If you want to share the ashes with friends and family, consider purchasing a few keepsake urns, which are smaller. Many people choose to scatter the ashes in meaningful locations with scattering tubes or water-dissolving urns, both of which we carry. We recommend that if you scatter, you keep a small portion of the ashes in a keepsake urn.

Biodegradable Urn

This earth-friendly urn will dissolve in earth or water.

Pet Urn

Pet urns are designed for your beloved best friend, but many keepsakes are sized to hold a smaller pet’s ashes.

What is a keepsake?

Keepsake urns hold only a portion of the ashes. They are intended for people who are sharing the cremated remains with family and friends or who have scattered most of the ashes. Some keepsakes can also serve as the urn for a small pet.

Is it hard to transfer the ashes?

No. Funeral homes or a crematory will return the ashes to you in a plastic bag inside a temporary urn. For adult urns, you can simply put the plastic bag containing the ashes inside your urn.

I’m not sure what I want to do yet with the ashes. What are my different options?

This is a very personal decision, and there’s no wrong way. Here are some urn options:
  • Display the urn at home.
  • Buy a few different keepsakes and share the ashes with your friends and family.
  • Scatter the ashes in a meaningful location with a scattering tube or water-dissolving urn.
  • If scattering, keep a small portion of the ashes in a keepsake urn.
  • Bury the urn in a funeral plot or a columbarium, which is an aboveground building that houses cremated remains.
By Kate Ottenberg

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