Choosing an urn for a loved one is part art and part science. While you must ensure that the urn holds the appropriate amount of ashes, you also want to make sure that the same urn reflects the life and personality of the person inside it.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- What Are Oversized Cremation Urns?
- How Do You Know If You Need an Oversized or Extra-Large Urn?
- What Are the Different Types of Oversized Urns?
- Where Can You Buy Oversized Urns Online?
Thankfully, purchasing urns has gotten much easier over time. Whether you need a small urn or an extra-large, oversized urn, there are many places you can find them.
What Are Oversized Cremation Urns?
All urns for ashes are sized according to the amount of ashes they hold. Small urns range between 10–150 cubic inches, which translates to enough space to hold the ashes of a child or person who weighs between 10 and 150 pounds. Adult-sized urns typically range from 150 to 250 cubic inches. This correlates to adults who weigh between 150 to 250 pounds. You might see adult urns also called “standard” urns, as most of the urns produced are in this size range.
Urns over 250 cubic inches are known as large or extra large urns. Some places might label them oversized urns. Either way, you can be sure that this range of urns will hold anywhere from 250 up to 600 cubic inches.
For those in need of an urn on the larger size, such as 400 cubic inches, you can also choose from a category of urns known as “companion urns.” These are traditionally used to hold the ashes of two people but can be used for a single person as well. Companion urns come in a standard size of 400 cubic inches and can be a smart way to save money rather than ordering a custom-sized or specially-made extra-large “single” urn.
When determining how much a large urn costs, there are several factors to consider including the material, size, and extras such as engraving, artwork, sculpting, or other customizations. In general, the larger the urn, the more you should expect to budget. The material will also be a significant factor in the price. Urns made of marble, for example, will always be more expensive than biodegradable urns or those made of stainless steel.
How Do You Know If You Need an Oversized or Extra-Large Urn?
When determining what size urn you’ll need, there are a few dimensions and measurements to keep in mind. Thankfully, since the size urn you need correlates to the weight of a person, choosing the right sized urn is a simple process.
The standard rule is that one pound equals one cubic inch of ash. So, if a person weighed 150 pounds while they were living, you’ll want an urn a minimum of 150 cubic inches. If they weighed 250 pounds, the urn size you’re looking for is 250 cubic inches.
If you don’t know how much the person weighed, and you already have their cremains, you can calculate the size urn you need a different way.
For those who are aware of how many cups of ashes they have, calculations can be made according to cups. One cup equals 14.44 cubic inches of ashes. If you have 8.5 cups of ashes, multiply 8.5 times 14.44 and you get 122.8. From 8.5 cups of ashes, you’ll need an urn at least 122.8 cubic inches in size.
What Are the Different Types of Oversized Urns?
Thanks to the growing popularity and preference toward cremation, urn manufacturers and small businesses are producing as many types of urns as there are people. No matter what someone’s style, likes, interests, and personality might be, you’ll be able to find an urn that provides a final fitting tribute for them.
1. Bronze box urn
Bronze urns are not only beautiful, but they’re highly customizable. They can be engraved, have reliefs added, pictures mounted, and other artwork included as part of the final product. Boxes are elegant and regal, ideal for nearly any setting from display in a columbarium niche to display in a special place at home.
2. Hand-turned wood urn
This combines the rustic nature of wood with the elegance of expert craftsmanship. For those who had a love of the outdoors or enjoyed rustic living, a hand-turned wood urn is perfect. These types of urns need a protected space in a columbarium or at-home display unless they have been sealed against the weather and elements.
3. Hand-painted ceramic urn
For those who want a hand in personalizing their loved one’s urn, consider a ceramic urn that has been fired but unfinished. This allows any family artist a blank canvas to paint a personal tribute to their loved one. Add a nature scene, special symbols, the person’s name and dates, or a special quote or verse. Finish the urn by coating it with a weather-proof sealant to protect the painting from moisture.
4. Inlaid wood box
For someone who loves the look of wood but desires personalization, consider an inlaid wood box. These urns are made entirely of wood but can be customized with a scene in the front, made entirely of inlaid wood.
5. Raku ceramic urn
Raku is a special Japanese technique that produces highly unique ceramics. No two are alike, making for a truly special urn to represent your loved one.
Raku cremation urns come in a wide variety of shapes, styles, and colors, making specific personalization even more accessible.
6. Wood or bronze book urn
This urn is made to look like a book and can be customized with a person’s name, dates, a quote, a picture, and artwork. A book urn could be the perfect way to memorialize someone who had a love for learning, a thirst for knowledge, or enjoyment for the written word.
7. Biodegradable urn
For those planning a scattering ceremony or wanting to bury ashes as part of a green burial or a burial at sea, a biodegradable urn is what you’ll need. These urns come in a variety of shapes and styles, but all will biodegrade and release ashes into the environment.
8. Metal urn
Metal urns come in a variety of styles, shapes, colors, and finishes. Metal urns are a favorite of many wanting an urn that can be placed outside in a memorial garden. Once sealed and given a protective coating, metal urns should stay free of rust.
9. Marble urn
Marble urns are beautiful and elegant. They come traditionally as boxes or in a traditional urn shape and can be made in a variety of colors. Natural marble is the most expensive and your color choices are limited whereas cultured marble is more affordable and color choices can be more easily specified.
Where Can You Buy Oversized Urns Online?
Though oversized urns aren’t produced as much as standard-sized urns, there are many places where you can purchase them. It’s always a good idea to compare prices and shop around to ensure you get a high-quality urn at a good price.
When shopping online, check third-party reviews and see what other customers have to say about the merchant you’re considering. Always rely on third-party reviews, such as those hosted on Google, Yelp, or TrustPilot, instead of reviews on the merchant’s webpage.
Online urn manufacturers
Many manufacturers not only operate a brick-and-mortar store but offer their products online, too.
These manufacturers often have a wider selection available online, as well. When looking, filter all products offered by the size you need and choose from the available selection.
Online group retail sites
Websites such as Amazon, eBay, and Etsy all carry a wide selection of urns from a variety of sellers.
These are the sites to visit if you’re looking for something specific. If you’re looking for urns for dad, for example, online storefronts like these have a wide selection of father-oriented urns to choose from. Want a special urn for your mom or grandma? Contact a seller on Etsy for customized creations you won’t find anywhere else.
Online discount urn manufacturers
Some urn makers decide to sell solely online rather than open up a traditional brick-and-mortar storefront.
These places often have urns for much less than a traditional store. This can be an excellent option if you’re looking for an urn that is readily available and you have a smaller budget to work with.
Online auction sites
You might be surprised by the types of things available and up for auction.
Peruse auction sites to find a wide variety of urns from antique to imported to modern in style. If looking to purchase an urn through auction, ensure that the urn is the correct size you need before you bid.
Online antique stores
For those looking for antique urns such as cloisonne urns, antique shops can be an excellent place to look.
Rather than going into the store, however, check online to see if the store has a catalog of items available. Browsing an online catalog is the fastest way to determine what individual antique stores have in stock.
Other, Smaller Options
Perhaps you would like a piece of cremation jewelry or memorial diamond that holds a portion of the cremated remains or use the ashes to create a beautiful stone that can be used in a piece of jewelry or decor. Eterneva is one company that makes this possible, transforming cremated ashes into real diamonds in a matter of months. You can also solidify your loved one's cremains into 40 to 60 cremation stones, which you can divvy up however you'd like, with Parting Stone.
A Fitting Tribute
The urn you choose for a loved one should serve as a fitting tribute for their life on earth. Choose an urn that not only reflects their style and interests but their personality as well. If your loved one would have enjoyed the urn you chose for them, then you’ll know you’ve chosen well.