Caskets serve as the final resting place for those we love the most and can be considered the most obvious symbol of a funeral. Choosing a casket that helps to highlight the life, personality, and interests of the person who rests inside can be a difficult task. However, it may be surprising to know that funerals can be a costly affair.
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The average price of a funeral ranges anywhere from $7,000 to $10,000, with other options that can drive the cost much higher. Of the total cost of a funeral, the casket is often the single most expensive purchase.
Casket prices can start in the low thousands, with the final cost depending on materials used, lining, customizations, and the manufacturer. If you’re looking for a truly customized casket made of higher-end materials, chances are these kinds of caskets will be more costly.
But don’t let the cost of a casket deter you from choosing the one that you believe will best honor your loved one. Many of these caskets are also available if you would rather rent a casket for a memorial prior to cremation. If you have no budget limitations for the type of casket you are looking for but unsure where to look, here are some valuable tidbits about the types of expensive caskets available.
Types of Expensive Metal Caskets
Metal caskets are one of the most expensive types of caskets available and are a popular choice along with more traditional wood options.
Typically, you will see three different materials available for caskets, along with a special metal casket you can have custom made for particularly notable individuals. Most of these begin around $8,000 and can cost even as much as $30,000.
These metal caskets often come with expensive interior linings, lids with a half-couch or full couch, and options such as a gasket to seal the casket and make it air and watertight.
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1. Gold and gold-plated caskets
Gold and gold-plated caskets are available if you have the budget and wish to give your loved one a bright memorial. Hollywood actress and extravagant socialite Zsa Zsa Gabor was gifted one of the most expensive caskets ever made, a 24-karat gold plated casket worth $40,000.
If you want some gold on the casket but don’t want to spring for something as expensive as Zsa Zsa’s casket, you can purchase a casket with 14-karat gold-plated hardware starting around $25,000. All gold-plated caskets with bronze as the underlying metal base.
2. Bronze caskets
Along with copper and steel, bronze is considered a semi-precious metal—and as such, caskets made of bronze are considered to be long-lasting and durable. You can find them in different colors besides bronze, such as black and gold.
The price of a bronze casket can fluctuate depending on the amount of bronze used in the construction. Bronze caskets featuring 32 ounces of bronze per square foot can start around $3,000 and go as high as $9,000. As you might expect, caskets that are made of 48 ounces of bronze per square foot can start around $10,000.
When you add other precious metals or accents to the casket, expect the price to go up even higher. For example, ones that are adorned with 14-karat gold plating on hardware such as the handles start around $13,000.
3. Copper casket
Copper caskets are beneficial when choosing a metal that won’t rust and looks luxurious due to the color. Similar to bronze caskets, the price of these depends on the weight of copper used to make the casket. The higher the copper weight, the more you should expect to pay for the casket.
The two common weights for copper are 32 ounces and 48 ounces, similar to bronze. Caskets made of 32-ounce copper range anywhere from $5,000 to $7,000. However, those with a brushed copper finish on a copper body will cost more and start around $8,000 to $9,000. Finally, copper caskets made with 48 ounces of copper per square foot are even higher.
4. Stainless steel caskets
Stainless steel is strong and can avoid rust, similar to copper and bronze. However, when compared to the other metals, it is far less expensive.
For example, a simple stainless steel casket with a good-quality lining can be found from around $1,800 to $3,000. Higher-quality stainless steel caskets with a plush lining and satin or velvet interior cost a bit more, coming in around $4,000 to $5,000.
To dress up stainless steel caskets, you can opt for a brushed chrome or nickel finish. This will add a matte or satin effect to the surface of the casket. Keep in mind, however, with a brushed finish, the price can go up as high as $7,000 or higher.
Types of Expensive Wood Caskets
Wood caskets have long been favored due to their unique elegance and aesthetic and texture. When it comes to wood, the price of your casket will depend largely on the grade of wood used to build it. A hard wood like mahogany can be more expensive than pine, for example.
While caskets can be made from rare woods, the most common high-end woods include mahogany, oak, cherry, and walnut. The higher the casket prices are, the better craftsmanship and beauty you can expect.
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5. Solid mahogany wood caskets
Mahogany wood is a reddish-brown colored timber and has a beautiful shine that is a deep red hue when shined and polished. It is a hardwood that can withstand damage and is a preferred material for making furniture and caskets. It’s also one of the most expensive woods available when you start looking at rare woods.
Mahogany wood caskets typically start around $2,000 to $2,500 and go up to $4,000. This price is just for the casket and sometimes excludes other features such as luxury interior lining or custom-designed handles or inlays. With added features, mahogany caskets can easily go as high as $10,000.
Tip: This solid mahogany casket from Overnight Caskets includes a plush velvet interior.
6. Cherry wood caskets
Cherry is a reddish-brown hardwood that is popular for making caskets. When shined and polished, cherry caskets will shine with a reddish hue, lighter in color than mahogany but just as vivid and luxurious.
Cherry wood casket pricing starts reasonably around $1,000 and increases depending on the quality of wood, interior lining, type of finish, and customization. A cherry wood casket that begins at $1,000 can easily cost up to $6,000 when all is said and done.
7. Walnut wood casket
Walnut wood is used to make elegant, beautiful caskets that appear stately and refined. Once finished, shined, and polished, walnut caskets are a beautiful resonant chocolate color that shines brightly.
Good quality walnut caskets cost around $2,000 to $2,500. Walnut caskets with either a high-gloss or matte finish range from $1,600 to $3,500. Depending on the grade of wood and preferences such as interior lining and customization, you can expect to spend around $4,000 to $5,000 for a walnut casket.
8. Oakwood casket
Oak is a popular choice for caskets due to the distinct grain pattern that gives it a detailed and rustic look. For caskets, white oak and red oak are both used. White oak is beige or brown in color while red oak comes in shades of pinkish-brown and reddish-brown.
Oak caskets aren’t as pricey as mahogany and cherry but they can reach $5,000 and beyond depending on the quality of wood and customizations. On average, however, oak caskets typically range from $1,600 to $3,000.
Other Types of Expensive Caskets
While solid wood and metal are the primary materials used to make caskets, there are alternatives you can turn to if you want something extra special for a casket.
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9. Veneer wood caskets
Veneer wood caskets are made by taking thin pieces of hardwood and attaching them with an adhesive or strong glue onto the surface. Whatever is underneath the hardwood pieces gets completely covered by the veneer.
Because of this, the main material can range from plastic to inexpensive wood. However, the veneer wood and custom designs will add to your total price point. Veneer caskets can cost up to $3,500.
10. Inlaid wood caskets
Inlaid wood is a different type of veneer option where hardwood pieces are used to enhance the look and elegance of the hardwood casket itself.
The process of inlaying wood or another material is time-intensive and requires special tools and expertise. Because of this, inlaid caskets can be quite pricey, starting around $7,000 depending on the design and customization desired.
11. Green caskets
Green caskets or eco-friendly caskets are made with biodegradable substances that decompose naturally. These unique options won’t damage the environment or leave a carbon footprint.
Some of the standard materials used to make them can include bamboo, willow, rattan, and seagrass. Caskets with these materials are typically woven with beautiful designs on the main compartment of the casket, the lid, and the handles.
These materials are easy to harvest and don’t require heavy machinery. A natural and biodegradable cotton cloth is used to line eco-friendly or green caskets. While these eco-friendly caskets typically start from $900 to $1,000, they can increase up to $3,000. If you commission a hand-woven casket, expect to pay significantly more.
Tip: You can buy simple, woven rattan caskets like this one on Amazon.
Expensive Casket Alternatives
If you don't want to spend a fortune on a casket, you don't have to. Here are a few alternatives to consider.
- Softwood caskets. Rather than springing for an expensive hardwood casket, you could choose one made of "softwood," instead. Softwood comes from fast-growing trees such as pine, fir, and cedar. We like this simple pine casket, which you can order online.
- Colored steel caskets. If the look of a copper, bronze, or gold casket appeals to you but the price doesn't, you can purchase a colored steel casket, instead. This casket comes in a variety of metal tones and features a reflective, copper-toned panel.
- Toned wood caskets. If you like cherry or mahogany caskets, you can purchase a less expensive casket with the same look. For example, Overnight Caskets offers this "cherrytone" poplar casket. (Poplar is technically a hardwood, too, but it's more affordable than mahogany or cherry.)
- Cremation keepsakes. You might choose to just rent a casket for the funeral, and then cremate your loved one's remains afterward. If so, you can still honor their memory with a unique and beautiful ash storage option. For example, you could keep the ashes in a one-of-a-kind, 3D-printed urn from Foreverence. Or you could transform the ashes themselves into natural-looking cremation stones with Parting Stone. You can even turn a small amount of the ashes into a real diamond with Eterneva.
Choosing Your Casket
Caskets are an important item of any funeral and it’s important to take your time when choosing a casket for a loved one. Different materials can help reflect personality and style in different ways.
High-quality wood and metal caskets may be on the higher end when it comes to the total price you can expect to pay, but they can be very worth it when considering options that best represent your loved one.
- Burwood, Justin. “Ailing actress offered 24k gold coffin even before her death.” The Rich Times, 10 February 2011, therichtimes.com/ailing-actress-offered-24k-gold-coffin-even-before-her-death
- Mckenzie, Joi-Marie. “Inside Zsa Zsa Gabor’s Funeral in Beverly Hills, ‘Farewell My Love.’” ABC News, 30 December 2016, www.abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/inside-zsa-zsa-gabors-funeral-beverly-hills-farewell/story?id=44470118