Caskets and cremation containers come in a
wide variety of materials, designs and costs. The type
of casket or ceremonial cremation container selected
will determine its value and cost. Generally, casket
prices range from least to most expensive according
in these types:
Cloth Covered Caskets(right) are made
from corrugated fiberboard, pressed
wood or softwoods, which are then
covered with cloth and have finished
Steel Gauges Used for Caskets:
Steel commonly used in the production
of caskets is 20-gauge, 18-gauge or 16-gauge.
20-gauge is the lightest steel commonly used in casket
production while 16-gauge steel is the heaviest.
Non-gasketed Steel Caskets are normally made of
20-gauge steel (some companies are experimenting
with 22-gauge steel). Twenty-gauge steel is the same
thickness used in many automobile body panels.
These caskets may be spot-welded. They are usually
the least expensive metal caskets available and are
usually square-cornered designs. Some nongasketed
steel caskets include interior coatings.
Most Hardwood Caskets(left) are made of solid wood,
finished in a satin or gloss coat. Some may be hand
polished. Their design may be square-cornered,
round-cornered or round-cornered urn shapes. Typically,
(poplar, willow) will be
the least expensive wood
caskets, followed by
pine, oak, birch, maple,
cherry, black walnut and
mahogany. Other species
of wood used in the
manufacture of caskets
are ash, elm, redwood, cedar, etc. It takes 130 to 150
board feet of lumber to produce a typical hardwood
casket. Some caskets require more wood if they are
made of 3" or 4" plank material. While normally in the
third cost quartile, hardwood caskets are sometimes
the most expensive caskets manufactured. Solid
hardwood caskets are manufactured like fine furniture.
They are assembled by craftsmen; sanded for
painting or staining. Some have hand-rubbed finishes.
Most recently, Batesville Casket Company has introduced
an engineered wood product that the company
has trademarked as "Marquetry".
Veneer-finished caskets are generally less expensive
than solid wood caskets. Stainless Steel Caskets
are most often square-cornered or squarecornered
urn designs. New products designs developed
in the 1990's include round-cornered and roundcornered
urn stainless steel casket designs. Stainless
steel caskets often are comparable in price to midrange
hardwood caskets and bridge the price brackets
between cold-rolled steel caskets and semiprecious
metal products such as copper or bronze.
Stainless steel caskets have become increasingly popular in the 1990's and continue to outsell copper or bronze caskets into the 2000's.
Copper or Bronze Caskets may be found in
square-cornered, round-cornered or urn shaped designs.
Rather than gauge, copper and bronze caskets
are measured by weight. A 32-oz. copper or bronze
casket means that the copper or bronze used
weighed 32-oz. per square foot. There are also 48-oz.
copper or bronze caskets.
The Casket & Funeral Supply Association of America estimates that of the 1.7 million caskets sold in 2007 production by type was about:
10.8% Cloth covered caskets (including products used in cremation)
15.6% Non-gasketed steel
47.3% Gasketed Steel
4.0% Stainless Steel
2.2% Copper or bronze
1.9% Infant & Children (14 and under)
Less than 1% of all caskets are made from composite materials.