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How To Choose Between Caskets and Coffins and Why

When you are planning a funeral, there are lots of decisions to be made in a short amount of time, and it can feel overwhelming. One of the significant choices you make will be picking an appropriate resting place for your loved one, and this may mean having to choose between a coffin or a casket.

While these terms are often used interchangeably, there are actually some marked differences between the two options. It may be a matter of personal preference as to which type of receptacle you select, or there could be other influencing factors, including cultural or practical considerations – or the type of internment you have planned.

If you are struggling to understand the difference between caskets and coffins and wondering which is the right choice, read on as we uncover some basic differences that might help you select the most appropriate option.

Differences Between Caskets and Coffins

Below, we have listed a few of the things that might traditionally separate caskets from coffins. While these are certainly differences you could come across, there is also a more contemporary approach emerging in the funeral industry, which we will discuss after we have described some of the more conventional differences between coffins and caskets.

The Interior

In the past, caskets have tended towards a more luxurious interior. There may be elaborate cushioning or a built-in pillow, and there are likely a number of options for the type of fabric, the colour and some special finishing like tucks, pleats or decorative buttons. Coffins have often leaned towards a simpler interior, perhaps a cotton cover on a simple cushioning, a plain wood interior or a simple wool fabric lining.

The Shape

Traditionally, the most significant difference between caskets and coffins has been their shape. A casket commonly comes in a rectangular shape with a hinged lid that opens lengthways. It may also have a division in the lid, which enables just the upper body and the face of the deceased to be viewed. While caskets have four sides, coffins, on the other hand, are likely to have a more classic shape with six sides, a tapering toward the head and foot with a wider section in the centre or midsection.

Design & Material

Caskets may lean toward more opulent styling and could feature more intricate detailing. Alongside luxurious fabrics for the interior, you could find that oak or mahogany are used in the construction, you could discover a casket with embossed decorative handles made of steel or bronze, and a casket may feature a high gloss finish. Coffins normally have more conservative styling, leaning towards an elegant simplicity. They could be constructed from pine or even eco-friendly options like bamboo. 

Factors in Your Decision

While you now have a better idea of the main differences between coffins and caskets, there are likely other factors that could influence your decision. You may simply prefer the look or feel of either option, you might have a specific budget that could see you swayed in a certain direction, or you may be affiliated with cultural or religious groups with strong guidelines around the rituals associated with burials.

Eco Friendly Choices

The funeral industry is evolving to encompass all sorts of different mindsets, and alongside the factors we have already highlighted, many people are also looking for more natural ways to bury a loved one. Eco-friendly caskets and coffins are now more widely available, and while they blur the line between caskets and coffins in terms of the materials traditionally used in their construction, they also provide an opportunity to reinterpret the departure process in ways that may better honour the ideals and values dear to the heart of your loved one.

Personalised Caskets & Coffins

Another way people are embracing a more contemporary approach to funeral preparation is to opt for a coffin or casket that can be decorated by the family or by a favourite artist. There are even cardboard caskets available with jute handles, which are sleek, stylish, environmentally friendly, and perfect for creating a highly personalised moment, where members of the family could be invited to leave a written message on the casket before or during the service.

Contact Us

If you are looking for a unique way to honour your loved one, combining tradition with forward-thinking, you may choose a natural funeral.

Natural funerals involve a coffin, casket or shroud constructed from eco-friendly materials and will involve preparing the deceased for burial in gentle ways that allow you to be as involved as you would like.

Get in touch now or take a wander around our website to understand what options are available in the way of coffins and caskets.