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Todd Witengier

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Choosing the perfect cremation urn has never been easier. With the influx of Internet sites offering cremation urns for purchase online, there are more urn styles, sizes and types from which to choose than what was available to the consumer just a few years ago. With such a vast array of funeral urns to select from, the consumer is now faced with the daunting task of narrowing down the selection. Issues they must consider include the urn's aesthetics, size, and ultimate function, including burial, niche internment or private, in-home memorial). With the increased available options availed to the consumer, selecting the perfect cremation urn for you or your loved one requires greater attention to the variables when weighing the options.

Urn Size - When selecting a cremation urn for you or your loved one, your first consideration should be the size of the urn that you need. Most people probably don't know how to calculate the correct size they need for their urn. Armed with the knowledge of how to determine the appropriate size, this is actually one of the easiest obstacles to overcome. To make sure the urn you select is suitable to house the remains of you or your loved one, simply employ the following formula: for every pound someone weighs in life, you will need one cubic inch of volume in the selected urn (1 cubic inch per pound). For example, for someone who weighs 200lbs in life, they will need an urn with a volume of 200 cubic inches or greater).

Functional Considerations - The final disposition of the cremations is a consideration that can easily slip your mind. Urns can be used in several capacities, such as placement in your home, burial, or niche internment. How one intends to manage the final resting place of the remains is a factor that contemplated prior to even searching for the appropriate cremation urn. There are available many urn styles and types of urns, all of which can serve very specific functions.

Urn Style and Type - There are many different urn styles available to the consumer and the list is growing. Below is a quick reference guide to help in your selection:

Cube or cubic urns are manufactured as cubes or other rectilinear volumes and are normally made of metal. The process by which these are manufactured can vary greatly. Some are fabricated; welding the various components together, sanding the joints, and then finishing by plating and/or protective clear coat of paint. Other cubic urns are created in a foundry, which involves pouring the desired metal material into molds and then finishing the exterior surface. These are not the traditional urn styles that many people may be used to seeing. They have a more modern, understated appeal and are more subtle than the tradition vase or cloisonné urns. Another advantage of this urn style is that an appliqué may be attached to the face of the urn, allowing someone to customize the "theme" of the urn. For example, an insignia for a specific branch of the military can be applied to the face of the urn. These urns also lend themselves to engraving, as the flat surface is a perfect medium to accomplish this.

Vase urns are one of the most recognizable styles of urns. These are typically fully-enclosed vases and are available in a variety of finishes, including plated or painted surfaces.

Sharing the same basic shape as vase urns, cloisonné urns are constructed of metal and are decorated with vitreous enamel. The enamel is decoratively placed on the urn within a cloisonné wire framework and then permanently fired in place. The cloisonné design is oftentimes intricate and handcrafted in nature and provides a unique look for the urn.

For today's environmentally-conscious consumers, green or earth-friendly urns have been availed by many manufacturers and distributors. These urns have special appeal for those wishing to preserve the environment and to lessen our environmental impact. At the core of the movement to create environmentally-friendly urns is the introduction of biodegradable urns. These urns will quickly break down in natural settings, such as in-earth or at-sea burials. Despite their quick fast-degrading characteristics, these urns can oftentimes still be attractively decorated for the memorial service.

When the surviving family wishes to distribute the remains of a loved one amongst several members, keepsake urns are available to serve this purpose. Keepsake urns are very small urns, which hold only a fraction of the cremations. Many times, these urns are styled and decorated to match the full-sized primary urn.

Quality - Another factor consumers need to take into account is the quality of the cremation urn in which they are interested. This is a factor because the quality of available urns varies greatly. Factors integral to the quality include materials of manufacture as well as finish methods. As mentioned earlier, differing manufacturing methods include hand fabrication and die-cast production. Of course, each manufacturing process has its own set of challenges and these challenges can vary the quality of the finished products. It's really up to the consumer to be vigilant in assessing the individual quality of their selected urn.

Availability - Another factor affecting your selection of a cremation urn is the turn-around time required to ship and acquire your purchase. This is an especially important factor when you have scheduled a memorial service for a specified date. Depending on inventory a supplier has on hand, engraving time, and their available shipping options, the vendor you wish to provide your urn may be limited. This is information that you need to obtain prior to making your purchase.

If you are considering purchasing a cremation urn, whether from an online retailer or a funeral, these are a few factors that you must analyze to make an informed decision. Price, of course, is always an important consideration, but these other additional factors will also help you to weigh all the variables and options affecting your purchase.

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Todd Witengier is the V.P. of Marketing for Urns of America, LLC - an online provider of beautiful cremation urns. Browse and shop online by visiting our gallery at to see our full line of quality cremation urns for both people and pets.
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MLA Style Citation:
Witengier, Todd "Selecting the Perfect Cremation Urn." Selecting the Perfect Cremation Urn. 03 Apr. 2012 19 Jul. 2018 <>.
APA Style Citation:
Witengier, Todd (2012, April 03). Selecting the Perfect Cremation Urn. Retrieved July 19, 2018, from
Chicago Style Citation:
Witengier, Todd "Selecting the Perfect Cremation Urn." Selecting the Perfect Cremation Urn
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