How to Choose an Urn

Information to help you choose an urn for cremation ashes

Last updated: 29 November 2016

If you have chosen cremation for your loved one, you will need to choose the type of urn to contain the cremation ashes.

When making your choice, you may want to consider:

  • The cost
  • The materials used
  • The style and look
  • The purpose of the urn, for display or burial

Different materials and types

There is a huge variety of materials, styles and types of urn available. Apart from traditional urn-shaped containers, you can buy urns designed to look like sculptures, made of glass, or with a personalised design. Other types include:

  • Metal (for example, brass, copper or silver)
  • Traditional porcelain
  • Biodegradable urns
  • Decorative glass
  • Ceramic sculpture urns
  • Stone (for example, marble)
  • Candle urns, designed to hold ashes and a candle
  • Custom and personalised designs
  • Double cremation urns, a matching pair for two people

Special requirements

The type of urn you choose may depend on what you intend to do with the cremation ashes. If you intend to scatter your loved one’s ashes in a meaningful place, you may want to choose a scatter tube instead of an urn.

If you want to display the ashes in your home, you may want to pick a meaningful sculpture urn that you will enjoy looking at. There are hundreds of different styles to choose from, so you can choose one that best reflects your loved one’s personality and what they meant to you.

If you intend to bury the ashes, you will need a robust urn made from metal or stone. Or you may want a biodegradable urn so that the ashes can be quickly and safely dispersed into the earth in an eco-friendly way.

If you have any questions about what type of urn is best for your loved one, you can discuss your needs with your funeral director.