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How Much Do Caskets Weigh? [+ Breakdown by Type & Material]

Unless you work in the funeral industry or routinely collect random statistics to add to your knowledge base, the question of how much caskets weigh probably hasn’t come up before.

However, that quickly changes when you consider the possibility of serving as a pallbearer to carry the casket for a loved one or if you need to transport a dead body on an airplane.

So, to prepare you for these situations, we’ve scraped data from casket catalogs across the internet and directly from manufacturers. We’ve broken down casket weight information by style, type, and material, to ensure you find exactly what you need.

Read on to learn more.

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How Much Does a Casket Weigh?

Standard caskets typically weigh between 150 and 225 lbs (68 – 102 kg), while oversized caskets weigh 215 to 300 lbs (98 – 136 kg). These figures vary based on material, and while they include features such as upholstery, handles, and seals, they exclude the deceased’s weight.

Your funeral home or online casket retailer will be able to provide you with an exact weight for each specific casket they sell. They’ll also be able to tell you what the casket will weigh with your chosen additional features (if any).

Casket Weight Breakdown by Material and Type

Casket TypeWeight
Steel Casket150 – 200 lbs (68 – 91 kg)
Wood Casket150 – 280 lbs (68 – 127 kg)
Wicker Casket70 – 120 lbs (32 – 54 kg)
Cardboard Casket20 – 80 lbs (9 – 36 kg)
Bronze/Copper Casket240 – 300 lbs + (108 – 136 kg)

The material the casket is made from impacts its weight. And there are a lot of materials to choose from.

Steel, wood, and fiberglass caskets are among the more popular options, while wicker and cardboard options are also on the market. These lightweight options typically appeal to people desiring natural, eco-friendly burials

Naturally, an oversized casket using any of these same materials will be a fair bit heavier, by around 30% or so as a rule of thumb. They also cost more as a result. 

How Heavy Are Metal Caskets?

Standard-size steel caskets made with 20-gauge steel typically weigh around 180 lbs (81 kg). 

Bronze caskets, a rarer choice, weigh more — usually upward of 300 lbs (136 kg). Copper caskets have a similar weight. Again, these numbers don’t include the weight of the deceased.

Example of a typical 20-gauge steel casket that weighs 180 lbs (81 kg):

20-Gauge Steel Casket – 180 lbs (81 kg)

titan casket orion series steel casket Bronze

Titan Casket – Orion Series

– 20-Gauge High-Quality Steel
– Gasketed Design
– Adjustable Bed

How Much Does a Wood Casket Weigh?

The weight of wood caskets varies greatly.

You can already begin to imagine how much if you’ve ever moved a pine IKEA table with ease, only to struggle greatly with an antique hardwood cabinet.

Generally speaking:

  • Softwood caskets made from pine, willow, and other popular softwoods weigh between 150 and 200 lbs (68 – 91 kg). This also applies to wood veneer caskets.
  • More affordable hardwood caskets, made from walnut, birch, or maple, weigh between 165 and 240 lbs (75 – 108 kg).
  • Luxury hardwood caskets made from mahogany, cherry, or walnut can weigh as much as 300 lbs (136 kg) or even more.

You may be surprised that most wood caskets are heavier than metal caskets. The reason for this is that metal doesn’t need to be as thick as wood to provide the same level of strength.

Example of a veneer wood casket weighing 200 lbs (91 kg):

Mahogany Veneer Casket – 200 lbs (91 kg)

mahogany veneer wood casket example 99

Classic – Trusted Caskets

– Mahogany veneer
– Wood Casket
– Ivory Velvet Interior
– $1,100

Fun fact: The caskets used by members of the British Royal Family are usually oak coffins lined with lead. The weight of these caskets probably exceeds your wildest imagination; Queen Elizabeth’s casket weighed over 550 lbs (250 kg)!

How Much Do Wicker or Cardboard Caskets Weigh?

Wicker caskets are a beautiful option for people who wish to have a natural burial. 

wicker biodegradable casket type

They can be made with materials like bamboo, willow, or seagrass and are woven. These caskets are usually no heavier than 120 lbs (54 kg) and often weigh as little as 70 lbs (32 kg).

Cardboard caskets weigh more than “nothing” — while they can be as light as 20 (9 kg), some cardboard caskets weigh 80 lbs (36 kg).

cardboard coffin

How Much Do Fiberglass Caskets Weigh?

Fiberglass caskets are an emerging option. 

They are lightweight, but because there’s no standardized shape or style, and they’re typically only available to custom order, it’s hard to give specifics.

These caskets can have a variety of finishes, including paint or wood, neither of which will have much impact on the overall weight.

What Other Factors Influence a Casket’s Weight?

Beyond the material a casket is made from, and it’s overall size, there are other factors that can impact a casket’s weight:

Most modern caskets and coffins are equipped with hinges, clasps, and handles:

casket vs coffin handles for pallbearers

These can add some weight, although it will be minimal in the grand scheme of things.

Wood coffins may not have fancy interiors, but metal caskets are usually fitted with upholstery to make them look comfortable. Again, the impact on weight will be immaterial but it’s still something to consider.

Pillow in Casket on Stylized Background

Some people also send their loved ones off with keepsakes, which you’ll need to factor in.

Understanding “Weight Capacity”

We’ve been discussing casket weights so far, but there is, of course, another important consideration — the weight of the deceased. 

People who are casket shopping should always look at a casket’s “weight capacity”

This number indicates the weight a casket can accommodate. 

Standard caskets can usually accommodate a body weight of up to 400 lbs (181 kg) (although some go as high as 500 lbs (227 kg)). This number will naturally be lower if you’re looking at the more budget wicker or cardboard caskets.

Ask your retailer or funeral home about the weight capacity of a particular casket before making your choice. Most of the stores online put this information in the “specs” tab.

Related Article: 7 Best Caskets: Buyer’s Guide & How to Choose One [2023 Guide]

How Does Casket Weight Impact on Pallbearers?

pallbearers carrying casket

Serving as a pallbearer is a beautiful way to honor a deceased loved one. 

However, even though pallbearers typically share their load with five or seven others, being a pallbearer can be surprisingly physically demanding. 

Keeping casket weight in mind when selecting the right casket can be an important consideration in this context. 

If a casket weighs 200 lbs (91 kg), and the deceased’s body weighs 200 lbs (91 kg), the weight to be carried is 400 lbs (182 kg) total. Split between six people, that’s 67 lbs or 30 kg per person! Not light by any means.

Choosing a lighter casket can make the job significantly less stressful.

Transporting a Body on an Airplane: Weight Restrictions

Bereaved people intending to transport a loved one’s remains by airplane also have good reason to be interested in the weight of the chosen casket. 

sealed casket on an air tray

In these cases, it is important to note that each airline has its own policy in place. Most airlines will expect you to choose a casket with a gasketed seal, but they are also likely to have guidelines as to weight. Consult your chosen airline about weight restrictions as well as other regulations. 

It is often possible for your funeral home to coordinate with airlines to make arrangements. With a clearer view of any weight restrictions, choosing an appropriate casket should become less challenging.

Casket Weight and Considerations for Burial at Sea

sea burial

Burial at sea is permitted in some jurisdictions under certain circumstances. 

In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency has established clear rules that a burial at sea must not be conducted within three nautical miles of the shore. A special permit is also required. 

Following a burial at sea, it is desirable for the remains to sink to the bottom. The EPA recommends a total weight of at least 300 lbs (136 kg) for this purpose (they suggest adding weight by way of sand or concrete if necessary). 

These caskets should also be sealed and have at least 20 holes to prevent them from becoming buoyant. 

The Bottom Line

The casket industry is more varied than ever before. 

Most caskets weigh between 150 and 225 lbs (68 – 102 kg). Cardboard and wicker caskets are lighter, while hardwood and metal caskets can be much heavier. This weight doesn’t just depend on the material the casket is made of but also on its hardware and additional features. 

Pallbearers and people organizing air transport for a deceased should also keep the deceased’s weight in mind. Of course, pallbearers will be sharing their load with five to seven others (for a team of six to eight pallbearers).

Looking at typical casket weights may be interesting, but every casket is different! Make sure to check the exact weight with your casket retailer!

If you have any further questions about caskets, funerals, or anything else beyond life, please feel free to leave a comment below or get in touch.

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James Peacock
James Peacock
Hey, I'm James, the founder of After Your Time. I'm a lawyer specializing in trusts, wills, and estates. I help clients dealing with death everyday, and I hope the content on our site can do something similar for you.
James Peacock
James Peacock
Hey, I'm James, the founder of After Your Time. I'm a lawyer specializing in trusts, wills, and estates. I help clients dealing with death everyday, and I hope the content on our site can do something similar for you.

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