Funeral PlanningFuneralsHow Much Does Cremation Cost?

February 13, 2020Obitia

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Cremation is growing in popularity and is now the most common disposition type (how a body is treated after death). One of the main reasons why cremation has become so popular is that it costs less than a traditional burial. In this article, we will examine how much a cremation costs, but also why it tends to cost less than a burial and other forms of disposition.


What is the Average Cost of a Cremation?

Average cremation costs vary by location and what additional services you would like to purchase in addition to what most funeral homes call a “direct cremation”. According to our data, a cremation will cost between $1389.08 (average for Nevada) and $3060.88 (average for Connecticut). However, direct cremation packages for around $500 are common.


Why do cremations vary in price?

A direct cremation will generally forgo other service fees that would be associated with a memorial service or funeral service. You will not be paying for anything other than the handling of your loved one’s body and the service of cremating them.

If however, you are planning on having a showing, a memorial service, or both then you will need to pay for the funeral home’s staff and use of facilities. These prices are sometimes itemized and sometimes part of a package. You are always entitled to a written itemized statement summarizing the goods and services you selected before paying.

If there will be a showing, then you will need to rent a casket which is an additional fee. Memorial services or showings will require the funeral director and his staff to oversee the ceremony and associated services, which is usually covered under a “basic services fee”. All of these options will likely add thousands of dollars to the price of a funeral.

In addition, you may also need other items, such as flowers, food, and stationery. These costs can add up quickly, some of these may or may not be part of the funeral home’s services and the fees they charge.

As was outlined above, a much less expensive cremation option would not have a showing or memorial service at the funeral home and simply directly cremate the body. This will almost always be the least expensive option overall.

If you would like to compare cremation costs, please use our funeral home search to compare different funeral homes’ costs.

Why cremations cost less than a burial?

Most often the purchase of a casket is the single most expensive funeral item. The casket alone will likely cost over a thousand dollars, for example, the average casket in the Obitia store costs $1,244.31, which is based on options available online for less than what you generally find in a funeral home. If you choose to cremate your loved one, then you will not need a casket.

If you are having a showing you can always rent a casket from the funeral home and use a simple casket (commonly made from cardboard or light wood) to hold the body during the actual cremation process. Specifically, the Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule entitles you, by law, to have an “alternative container” instead of a casket for cremation and if you are having a cremation the funeral home must inform you that this option is available. To learn more about the FTC’s Funeral Rule, please read our article “FTC Funeral Rule and What it Means for You“.

Finally, embalming is a fairly expensive additional service. You will not have to, and in some places it is illegal to, embalm the body if there will be a cremation.


Will you need an urn?

The cremated remains of your loved one (the “cremains”) will be returned to you in a very simple container, so you do not have to buy an urn. However, the container returned to you is by no means meant or built to hold your loved one’s remains for a long time, nor will it likely be aesthetically pleasing. So generally you will need to purchase an urn, which will cost anywhere from $30.00 to hundreds of dollars. However, a good average price point is around $100.00. If you would like to learn more about choosing an urn, please read our article “How to Choose an Urn“. We have also included some urn options below to give you an idea of different price points and styles available.


Other Considerations

Many people are choosing cremation for their loved one because it gives them more flexibility. Americans tend to move around and many families may find themselves moving across the country. If your loved one is buried in a cemetery, it makes it hard to visit them if you have moved away. However, an urn can be brought with the family and allows for your loved one to always be with you and your family no matter where you go.

Another growing trend in the U.S. is giving your loved one an “alternative burials“, for some this may mean scattering ashes in a favorite or meaningful spot or something quite different. Obitia works with Celestis which will send some of your loved one’s ashes into space, as well as, Memorial Reefs International which uses your loved one’s ashes to build a portion of an artificial coral reef. Many families who partake in these alternative burial services do so long after their loved one has passed, and the fact that their loved one was cremated gives the family that option to do something special for them even if it is not right after the funeral itself.



Cremation has become the most popular type of funeral due to many factors, the most significant being cremation prices are almost always less expensive than a traditional funeral with a burial. The most important thing to do is to follow any funeral plans your loved one had and honor their wishes as best as you can.




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