Online, you can expect to pay $1,200 to $1,800 for a 20 gauge metal casket, $1,400 to $2,500 for a solid wood casket, and $3,500+ for a copper or bronze option. Typically, these prices are marked up by around 32% at funeral homes, where some pay over $10,000 for the most premium models.
That’s the short answer, and despite caskets being one of the most significant funeral expenses, it wasn’t easy to come to.
While the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is planning to modernize funeral home pricing rules, it hasn’t happened yet, and the funeral industry continues to lack price transparency across the board.
So we decided to email 137 funeral homes across America, at least two in every state, to request a copy of their “Casket Price List”. We also pulled cost information from 9 major online casket retailer’s websites.
Using that data, we’ve put together this guide to casket prices so you know exactly how much you should really be spending on a casket or coffin and how you can save money on one when making funeral arrangements.
We’ve broken the prices down by casket style, type, material, brand, and retailer, to ensure all bases are covered.
In This Article
Overview: How Much Do Caskets Cost?
There is significant variance in price depending on the material of a casket or coffin and where it is purchased.
To help you compare prices, here’s an overview of the average casket prices for all popular types using the data we collected, including how the prices differed between types of sellers:
|Casket Type||Funeral Home Price Range||Online Price Range|
|Steel||$1,800 – $3,600||$1,500 – $3,400|
|Wood||$3,300 – $5,000||$1,200 – $2,500|
|Copper/Bronze||$6,100 – $6,600||$5,000 – $6,000|
|Cardboard||$150 – $1,000||$150 – $800|
|Eco-Friendly||$700 – $2,300||$700 – $1,900|
Related: 7 Best Caskets: Buyer’s Guide & How to Choose One [2023 Guide]
While we have tried to remove outliers, it is important to note that our dataset does include premium caskets and oversize options.
While these numbers form a good starting point, we will break them down further below.
How Different Casket Types Compare in Price
Steel caskets are the most common type of coffin seen at funeral services. They are also, as traditional caskets go, the most affordable option when trying to minimize funeral costs.
Or, at least, this is a type of casket that has the most affordable options available – they are not all cheap.
In fact, the prices of steel caskets vary widely.
We found budget models selling for as little as $1,000 online at Overnight Caskets and around $1,200 for a more premium model at Titan Casket:
Entry Level: 20-Gauge Steel
– 20-Gauge High-Quality Steel
– Gasketed Design
– Adjustable Bed
Then on the other end, places like Phaneuf Funeral Home in New Hampshire sell even more luxurious stainless steel models for over $5,000.
– Stainless Steel
– Natural Brushed & Ebony Finish
– Silver Velvet interior
Ones selling at this price point are usually made by the more traditional casket manufacturers like Batesville, Matthews Aurora, or Universal, who almost have a monopoly over the caskets sold by funeral service providers.
There are several factors that determine a steel casket’s price. Some relatively minor factors include:
- The interior lining used (velvet is usually more expensive than materials like crepe),
- Whether the casket has a rubber gasket for sealing.
The main reason comes down to the gauge and quality of the steel used.
In theory, the lower the gauge, the higher the quality.
In reality, our view is that very few people need anything thicker than 20-gauge steel. It is not usually worth the price increase, which, based on our data, can be significant, as shown in the table below:
Steel Casket Prices Comparison Table
|Steel Casket Type||Average Funeral Home Price||Average Online Price|
|Steel – 20-Gauge||$1,909||$1,670|
|Steel – 18-Gauge||$3,218||$2,251|
|Steel – 16-Gauge||$6,345||$4,072|
|Steel – Stainless (Any Gauge)||$4,784||$2,356|
It’s worth noting that neither a lower gauge of metal nor a gasketed seal will necessarily make the casket preserve a deceased body any better, or forever.
In fact, almost all casket manufacturers and funeral homes provide specific disclaimers stating that they make “no representations or warranties about the protective value of certain caskets.”
It’s easy for us to come out and say “wooden caskets” are more expensive than steel caskets based on our numbers. But upon closer look, that’s not entirely true.
The problem lies in the fact that there are, broadly speaking, two different types of wood coffins: Solid wood (or “hardwood”) caskets, and veneer caskets.
Veneer wood caskets are usually cheaper.
A lower-quality wood or fiberboard is used for the structure of the casket, and higher-quality panels (such as oak or mahogany) are glued to the outside. An example is the “Classic” Mahogany Veneer casket from Trusted Caskets that goes for around $1,100.
Budget Wood: Mahogany Veneer
Classic – Trusted Caskets
– Mahogany veneer
– Wood Casket
– Ivory Velvet Interior
On the other hand, hardwood caskets are made entirely from the wood they are marketed as. As you would expect, mahogany and oak cost much more than fiberboard, leading to the wide price variance.
You end up with options like the 710 President Mahogany Hardwood casket selling for over $13,000 at Rockco Funeral Home in Alabama.
– Mahogany hardwood
– Swing bar handles
– Pearl Velvet Interior
And it gets more complicated: Pine is also often used to make “hardwood caskets”, even though pine is actually a soft wood.
So, instead of two tiers of quality and pricing, there are actually three when it comes to wooden caskets: Hardwood Caskets (Non-Pine) > Pine Caskets > Veneer Wood Caskets
Wood Casket Type Price Comparison Table
|Wood Casket Type||Average Funeral Home Price||Average Online Price|
|Hardwood (Excluding Pine)||$5,620||$2,308|
I have never seen a veneer casket that was of significantly worse quality to justify the price difference. They are a perfectly fine option for your or your deceased family member’s funeral or memorial service.
Hardwood Casket Material Price Comparison Table
If you do want to go with a non-pine hardwood casket, you can expect them to be priced in the following sorts of ranges:
|Solid Wood Casket Material||Funeral Home Average Price Range||Online Average Price Range|
|Cedar||$2,800 – $4,500||$2,000 – $4,000|
|Cherry||$2,900 – $6,200||$2,600 – $4,400|
|Mahogany||$4,000 – $13,000||$2,300 – $3,500|
|Maple||$3,000 – $5,100||$2,000 – $3,800|
|Oak||$3,000 – $5,700||$1,900 – $4,000|
|Pecan||$3,400 – $5,000||$2,500 – $3,700|
|Poplar||$2,300 – $4,200||$1,400 – $2,500|
|Walnut||$3,800 – $6,000||$2,100 – $3,300|
Other Metal Caskets (Copper/Bronze)
Copper and bronze caskets are typically the most expensive type of “traditional casket”. They come in 32 and 48-ounce varieties and are popular for being one of the most durable and least corrosive materials for caskets to be made out of.
That may sound surprising, because some casket manufacturers are misleadingly advertising themselves as selling copper and bronze caskets for as low as $1,000 – less than most steel caskets!
To be clear: No one is selling genuine bronze or copper caskets for anything close to $1,000. They might sell copper colored or bronze finished steel caskets for that price, but that is it.
There are very few manufacturers of copper and bronze caskets.
They typically sell for a minimum of $4,000, ranging up to $6,000. Kirby Mountain Funeral Home in Arkansas sells a Signet Supply branded one for $6,595.
The best price we found was one for sale on Divine Caskets for $2,500… but it isn’t pretty:
Cheapest Bronze Casket
– 48 oz bronze
– Gold color brushed finish
– Pearl velvet interior
Cardboard caskets are the cheapest caskets you can buy, ranging from $150 up to $1,000.
They’re so cheap because they’re not really caskets. We prefer the term “burial container”.
At the $150 – $500 end of the range, you’re getting a glorified cardboard box.
If this is all your budget allows, it is worth speaking to your funeral director. Many will give you a basic box for free rolled into their average funeral cost.
At the $1,000 end of the range, you’re getting a glorified corrugated cardboard box with a nicer finish.
Once you’re spending this much money, many families will just spring for a budget steel option instead.
Some cardboard caskets can also double up as an eco-friendly or cremation casket:
Green/cremation caskets are another less-traditional, environmentally friendly, and more affordable option, especially if you have a natural burial cemetery near you.
They typically range in price from around $700 to $2,300, depending on the exact type you want, and whether you have settled on a green burial or cremation.
They are usually made out of biodegradable and combustible materials like wicker, rattan, bamboo, and other soft types of wood. Sometimes they might be made from fiberboard wrapped in cloth.
At the $700 end, you’re probably looking at a simple pine box.
The more premium wicker options start at around $1,000.
Pine boxes and other types of caskets can also work as green caskets or for direct cremation (perhaps the cheapest funeral option), as long as they don’t contain any metal.
Related Article: Different Types of Caskets and Coffins [Complete Visual Guide]
How You Can Minimize the Costs of Buying a Casket
There is no denying that caskets are expensive, contributing up to 30% to the average funeral cost.
For anything traditional, you’re looking at $1,000 minimum for something that’s going to be seen for half an hour before it’s buried 6 feet underground. Why is this?
Caskets are expensive because they require a lot of materials and labour to build. Further, unlike most types of furniture, they hold sentimental value as a final resting place that needs more detail to be put in the manufacturing process. This, in turn, adds to the funeral cost.
That said, there are ways to minimize the costs of buying a casket. Having read so many price lists from funeral homes across the country, here are few tips I’ve found:
It’s clear that caskets are usually cheaper online compared to funeral homes, but there are also significant differences in prices between different online sellers and funeral homes.
For example, we found the “710 President Mahogany Hardwood” selling for over $13,000 at Rockco Funeral Home in Alabama selling for $10,400 at Chapel Hill Funeral Home in Colorado and $9,800 at Shadow Mountain Mortuary in Arizona. Prices for the same casket vary between funeral homes.
This applies online too. We found that Costco sold a Prime Casket for $300 less than Prime Caskets’ website. Walmart has similar options. There are many deals out there if you look for them.
Beware of Unnecessary Upsells
Any casket you buy will come with interior lining, a bed for the body to lie on, and a pillow.
Beyond that, funeral homes and manufacturers will try to upsell you on everything. They may try to throw in a casket spray for $500 or an outer burial container or vault not-required by state-law for $2,000. Further, almost every casket price list we viewed put the expensive options up front, or framed moving from a 20-gauge to an 18-gauge casket as a cheap upgrade.
Online sellers do this too. Take Titan Casket for example; all their popular lines include 4+ upgrade options, such as customizable embroidered head panels/plaques for $100 or a full couch lid for $200 – both of which are, in our view, unnecessary.
On the bright side, all online casket retailers we reviewed offer free shipping with guaranteed delivery times. So that’s one less upsell to worry about.
Rent a Casket Instead
Many funeral homes offer premium casket rental as an option. Not all of them, but it’s worth asking the funeral director, especially if you don’t intend to have a graveside service.
Going this route, you will end up spending around $600 – $1,300 to rent a beautiful casket for the viewing or funeral ceremony, and a few hundred bucks for the average burial cost when a much more affordable container is ultimately placed in the ground or burial vault. You can end up saving thousands of dollars.
Be Aware of the Size
If the deceased is too big to fit inside a standard casket, they may need an oversized casket.
Because of the increasingly more extensive amount of materials used to build these types of coffins, their prices rise quickly in comparison to their width.
While the average 28-inch wide metal casket costs around $1,700, this jumps to $3,600 for 36-inch wide options. Anything wider than this and the costs get so prohibitive that we would genuinely suggest considering a DIY casket solution.
Further, once you pass around 29 inches in width, a casket is unlikely to fit in a standard-sized burial plot. This will add even more to the funeral costs.
This is why it’s essential to discuss with your funeral director whether an oversized casket is actually necessary for you or your loved one. Sometimes caskets might only be rated for, say, up to 350 lbs, but in reality they can take more.
Know Your Rights
The FTC’s funeral rule ensures that all consumers have the right to purchase a casket from outside the funeral home they use. They cannot penalize or charge you extra funeral home fees for bringing your own casket.
You also have the right to request a funeral home’s “General Price List” (GPL), that will typically show the costs for their funeral expenses, including their basic services fee.
Many GPLs also include casket options split into low, medium, and high price tiers. Asserting this right is how we got the data we needed to produce this article.
If their prices are ridiculous, try to negotiate. If they won’t negotiate, buy your casket elsewhere. They can’t stop you.
You Don’t Need the Most Expensive Casket
Finally, one of the best ways to save money on a casket is to “just say no” to overpriced options.
As mentioned above, 99% of people will be perfectly serviced by a $1,299 20-gauge steel casket like the ones offered by Titan Casket. There is a severe level of diminishing returns as you increase in price from there.
A Perfectly Good Casket
– 20-Gauge High-Quality Steel
– Gasketed Design
– Adjustable Bed
Swing bar handles are not worth a 20% premium compared to stationary handles. Rosetan velvet interiors aren’t $200 better than natural cotton or crepe. $30,000 models like the Batesville Promethean Bronze are wasteful and unnecessary in most cases.
Over to You
There is a massive range in casket costs – but the “sweet spot” is relatively narrow.
You don’t need an expensive model, buying online is a perfectly acceptable option, and watch out for the upsells!
If you have any further questions about the price of caskets or anything else beyond life, please feel free to leave a comment below or get in touch.