How to Choose a Casket or Coffin

Information to help you choose the ideal casket

Last updated: 1 February 2017

When you begin planning a funeral for your loved one, you will need to think about the type of funeral casket or coffin you want. There are many different styles and materials available.

When choosing a casket, you may want to consider:

  • The cost
  • The materials used
  • The style
  • The personality and taste of your loved one

Different materials and types

There is a huge variety of funeral caskets available. These include:

  • Traditional solid wood caskets or coffins (for example, oak, cherry or pine)
  • Metal (for example, stainless steel, or copper)
  • Cloth covered or laminated plywood or softwood
  • Fiberglass
  • Cardboard
  • Veneered MDF, usually made to look like wood
  • Wool coffins or woolen burial shrouds
  • Wicker coffins, willow caskets, and coffins made from bamboo, sea grass or banana leaves
  • Personalized picture caskets with bespoke designs
  • Orthodox caskets, made with tools and materials in adherence to religious custom.
  • Larger caskets, designed for taller or bigger people

If you have a specific type of casket in mind, you can discuss this with your funeral home. They should be able to help you find the ideal coffin or casket for your loved one.

Special requirements

Bear in mind that you may need to fulfill certain requirements in your casket selection, depending on the committal of your loved one.

If you have chosen cremation for your loved one, there will be certain guidelines set by the crematorium. Your funeral director will be able to show you a range of caskets suitable for cremation.

Cemeteries may have their own rules and regulations on what kind of casket you can use. Make sure to check with the specific cemetery you have chosen.

If you want your loved one to have an eco-friendly burial in a green burial site, you will need to check the requirements of that specific burial site, as they can vary. Some caskets can contain materials that do not biodegrade or contain toxic chemicals so it’s worth considering this before purchasing your coffin.

Sea burials have very strict rules about the type of casket you can use, including the types of material you can use and how it should be weighted.

If you have any questions about what type of casket is best for your loved one, speak to your funeral home about your needs.