Finding the right final resting place for a loved one is never easy, and there are a lot of difficult decisions that need to be made relatively soon after the death. More and more families are choosing cremation compared to a traditional burial, and that means it’s important to understand your options as well as how cremation works.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Main Cremation Companies in the United States
- Alternative Funeral and Cremation Providers
- Tips for Choosing the Best Cremation Company
Feeling comfortable and supported by your funeral home and crematorium is the best way to make sure you’ve made the right choice. The right fit when it comes to professional service and staff is a source of comfort and peace when you need it most.
In this guide, we’ll pull back the curtain on the funeral industry to explore the most popular cremation companies in the United States. Not only will this help you make a decision, but it’s also a good first step when making final decisions for yourself or a loved one.
Main Cremation Companies in the United States
Now, let’s explore the most well-known and popular cremation companies in the United States. Many people don’t realize that the majority of funeral homes and cremation companies are owned by the same organizations, leading to a lot of similarities in price and selection across the nation.
1. Neptune Society
Neptune Society is one of the biggest cremation providers in the US, serving over 1 million families. They have over 45 locations nationwide, and they continue to add locations each year. With almost 50 years of experience in cremations, they’re a trusted provider for these final moments with loved ones.
Though their pricing and services depend on the specific location, they make it easy to learn more and plan for the future. They specialize in preplanning services as a cost-saving measure, as well as helping families find the right urns for their needs.
2. National Cremation
National Cremation was founded in 1973, and since then they’ve served over 160k families in their hour of need. They’re the oldest cremation services provider in the United States, and they pride themselves on helping families no matter where they are in the cremation process.
Their online portal makes it simple to preplan services online from the comfort of your home. Unlike other cremation providers, they also offer burial services at select locations as well as cremations with visitation.
3. Trident Society
Though Trident Society is based in California, they have partner locations across the nation. With representatives available to help plan 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, this is one of the fastest services for arranging an immediate cremation for a loved one.
Trident Society offers cremation services, direct cremation, and cremation funeral services. They also have a marketplace for finding the right urn or final resting place for a loved one’s ashes.
4. Advantage Funeral and Cremation
Advantage Funeral and Cremation brands itself as an alternative to expensive cremation providers. With a single low price for services, it’s possible to guarantee a lower price than with other national providers.
Advantage Funeral and Cremation has 21 locations across the United States, so you’ll need to ensure there’s a location near you before you begin planning. In addition to cremation services, they also assist families with burials.
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Alternative Funeral and Cremation Providers
There are a lot of different funeral and cremation providers to choose from, and the list above is far from complete. While these are the most well-known national providers, you can also choose a local provider.
You can find local providers with any of these methods:
- Online search: The best way to find a low-cost funeral or cremation provider is by searching online in your local city and surrounding area.
- Word-of-mouth: Talking to loved ones about their own experiences with local funeral and cremation providers is another great source of information, especially if they had a positive experience.
- Funeral home: Your funeral home is also an excellent resource, and they likely have partner crematoriums who they work with regularly.
- Cemeteries: Last but not least, cemeteries often have a crematorium on-site, or they use the services of a local provider. They can be a good place to find a recommendation locally.
While a national provider is a great choice if you wish to have a prepaid cremation or you plan to move, this isn’t your only option. Shopping around is the best way to secure a good price and high-level service to fit your needs.
Tips for Choosing the Best Cremation Company
Because making a decision can be challenging, especially when you’re not sure what type of service you need, consider these tips below. When in doubt, ask questions and make sure you understand exactly what services are available and at what price.
Know what’s included in the price
First and foremost, always make sure you understand what’s included in the price. Most crematoriums and funeral homes offer packages for their families, but these aren’t always the same depending on the provider.
Don’t be afraid to ask specifically what’s included in the price. In addition, ask about any extra fees or add-ons that might be relevant. That last thing you want is a surprise when you receive the bill, and these providers are required by law to be upfront with pricing.
Check for accreditation
Funeral and cremation providers usually belong to organizations, and these organizations hold their members to strict standards. For cremation, you’ll want to look for memberships to groups like the Cremation Association of North America (CANA).
Accreditation is another way to make sure your chosen provider is highly qualified and professional. Along with reviews, this is the strongest form of recommendation.
Visit the facility in-person
While there has never been a better time to learn more about cremation providers online, you should also visit the facility in person if possible. You’ll learn a lot about the way they function and present themselves by their in-person office.
Talking to a representative face-to-face helps you not only understand their process but also to get a feel for the type of service they offer. Is the facility organized and efficient? Are they warm and easy to work with? These are what affect your comfort level the most.
Look at reviews and complaints
Last but not least, check online for any reviews and complaints. You can do this on typical reviewing platforms like Google Business, Facebook, and so on.
In addition, see if they have been listed by the Better Business Bureau or any other state or national regulatory agency. Have any complaints been filed? Were there past issues you might want to know about?
While these might seem like a lot of steps, it’s important to trust the cremation provider you choose. Whether you opt for a local or national cremation service, you want to feel secure in your choice.
Understand the different types of cremation
There are several different types of cremation, and not all cremation providers offer the same services. Once you understand how these work and differ, you’re ready to compare cremation companies.
There are 3 main types of cremation:
- Conventional cremation: This is the process most people are familiar with. The body is prepared, placed in a proper container, and cremated using high levels of heat.
- Direct cremation: A low-cost alternative to conventional cremation is direct cremation. In a direct cremation, the body is transferred directly to the cremation center without any funeral service beforehand, cutting costs.
- Liquid cremation: This process is known as alkaline hydrolysis, and it’s an alternative to conventional flame cremations. Water is combined with alkali, heat, and pressure to speed up decomposition and leave only liquid. This is a more eco-friendly choice, often also called a green cremation.
The type of cremation you choose for yourself or a loved one is a highly personal choice. Your choice will likely depend on your budget, the overall cremation cost, and your personal wishes. Like all things end-of-life, there are no “right” or “wrong” choices.
Find the Right Cremation Service
When we think of big purchases, we don’t usually consider funeral or cremation services. Yet, these are some of the most important decisions you’ll ever make, both for yourself and for loved ones. If you’ve been trusted with finding the right cremation service, don’t be afraid to do your homework.
These national providers above are a great place to start your search but don’t stop there. Depending on your budget as well as the type of cremation you hope to have, it’s important to be knowledgeable and comfortable at every stage. Advance research is key to being a smart shopper with all things, including cremation.