Choosing the right casket for a departed loved one is a way to honor them. With the large selections and options available to you, it can be a confusing and daunting task, especially when you are in an emotionally vulnerable condition. It is wise to do some research and know what your choices are in material, design, fabric, and personalization options. There are excellent online resources to help with this and many other important decisions that have to be made in a difficult time.
Types of Caskets
First of all, there is a difference between a casket and a coffin. Caskets are rectangular and have a split top to allow for viewing. Coffins are hexagonal and the lid is not really designed to be removed for viewing. Caskets are most popular in the UK whereas caskets are most commonly used in the US. Sometimes the term coffin is used to describe any wooden casket, but there is a distinction.
Caskets are made of two main types of materials, wood, and metal. You can find wood caskets in many types of wood, including exotic hardwoods such as cherry, mahogany, maple, and walnut, or softer woods such as aspen, poplar and pine, with the more exotic types commanding a higher price. Also, the more expensive woods come in exquisite finishes and other enhancements such as customization. Metal caskets come in a variety of options. The most expensive metal caskets are bronze and copper which are luxurious and rustproof, and impervious to the effects of nature. Less expensive are stainless steel caskets which is also are non-corrosive, but may not have the visual appeal of the more exotic metals. However, all metal caskets withstand the test of time well. The most economical metal casket is carbon steel which is strong and durable, but not as aesthetically pleasing as other metals.
There are a few choices to be made other than just the casket shell material. Interior materials can range from high end velvet to crepe. The velvet provides a beautifully soft and luxurious look, whereas crepe is simple yet still elegant and is a more affordable option. Interior material can also come in a number of different colors for additional customization. The style of the casket shell also has options. For example, you may choose traditional rounded corners or more contemporary square corners. Some casket shells are designed to allow customization to reflect the life and personality of a loved one, such as patriotic symbols, sports themes, or any other unique touch you may like to add. Metal caskets come in three popular thickness levels, 18 gauge and 20 gauge, with 18 gauge being the thicker. Metal caskets also have a gasket seal to shield it from the elements. Wood caskets do not have this option as they are porous. Casket sizes can vary as well with the standard being 28 inches wide but larger widths up to 42 inches are available.
Price is an important consideration when choosing the right casket. As pointed out earlier, more exotic woods and metals are more expensive and there are less expensive models and options available, depending on your wishes. It is understandable that you want to honor a loved one with the best money can buy, however, you can still honor them without buying the most expensive casket. A very expensive casket does not preserve remains any better than a good quality and less expensive one. Keep in mind that purchasing a casket from a third party can save you money. At one time, your only option was to purchase a casket from the funeral home. These days you have buying options. As with most anything, you can now buy any style casket online, including the beautiful wood caskets. Online casket shopping will offer you greater choice in styles and options and ultimately a lower price.