Do I Need to Purchase a Casket for Cremation?

casket When a person’s remains are cremated, the body must be placed in a rigid container that is entirely combustible. While this container can be a traditional casket, it does not have to be. Generally, the only requirement is that it cannot have any metal parts. The decision to purchase a casket will most likely be influenced by the type of service you plan.

Are You Planning a Traditional Funeral Service Prior to Cremation?

If so, you can purchase a combustible casket to hold the remains during the public viewing and/or religious service, which will also serve as the cremation container. The casket can be made from any combustible material—hardwood, cloth covered wood, wicker, teak, bamboo, etc.—as long as it has no metal parts.

You may also choose to rent a casket for the service and have the remains transferred to a more affordable container for the cremation process afterward. Called an “alternative container,” this is usually a simple box constructed of cardboard, plywood, composite wood materials or pouches made of plastic or cardboard.

Many funeral homes offer rental caskets; just make sure that the one you’re working with can provide you with this option if necessary.

Are You Planning a Direct Cremation With a Memorial Service Afterward?

While a funeral service takes place before the cremation process, a memorial service usually takes place afterward, with the remains placed in an urn and displayed alongside a photo of the departed and a spray of flowers.

In the case of a direct cremation, you will likely have no need for a casket since there are no services that require the presence of the body.

While some families may still choose a casket as the cremation container, you absolutely do not have to. If you do not wish to purchase a casket, the crematory will offer you an alternative container.

Will You Be Holding a Jewish Funeral Prior to the Cremation?

Made out of wood with no metal parts, the caskets made for Jewish funerals are a viable option for a cremation container.

A Matter of Expense and Preference

While you will need to choose an appropriate container for the cremation process, nothing dictates that it must be a casket. The choice is entirely a matter of expense and preference.

The passing of a loved one often leaves families with a financial burden that can be difficult to manage. Cremation is often chosen because it’s an efficient and cost-effective option that costs less than other funeral services, which frees the family from unnecessary financial burdens.

Neptune Society is America’s largest provider of affordable cremation services. Since 1973, we’ve assisted countless families and caregivers carry out the final wishes of their loved ones with dignity and respect.

If you think cremation may be the right choice for you, contact us today at 1 (800) 637-8863 to discuss the arrangements for your dearly departed or click here to preplan your own final arrangements.

Special thanks to Laura Anderson, location manager of Neptune Society Minneapolis for her support and contributions to this post.


The Neptune Society is the nation’s oldest and largest provider of affordable cremation services. Whether you have an immediate need or want to plan cremation services in advance, we are always available to assist you and your family.

Call 1-800-NEPTUNE (800-637-8863) today or contact us online to learn more.