What size cremation urn do I need?
Cremation urns come in a variety of sizes, and it can be hard to know which size is right for your family’s needs. So, let’s take some of the mystery out of the process of choosing.
- Keepsake Urns hold a small amount of ashes -- typically up to 3 tablespoons. Also known as mini urns, these tiny urns can be used to share ashes among family members. They are small and affordable so that everyone can have a meaningful memorial of a loved one. Keepsake cremation urns can carry a small amount of ashes to several scattering spots or can be kept as a small memorial displayed on a bedside table or shelf.
- Small & Medium Urns usually hold between 20-100 cubic inches of cremated remains. These urn sizes are appropriate for a child or for a portion of an adult's ashes.
- Adult Urns will accommodate the ashes of an average adult and are available in the broadest range of styles and materials to fully reflect the love, personality, and style of a much loved relative.
- Extra Large Urns are sized to hold the remains of a person who weighed over 200 pounds prior to cremation.
- Companion Urns have a large capacity and can carry the ashes of two people. Companion urns are often chosen as a perfect tribute to a couple who wished to be interred together.
The size of cremation urn you need can depend on more than one factor, as Stardust Memorials customer Cynthia found out.
When Cynthia placed her order on our website, she was focused on how much ash the urn would hold. Her father who had died weighed 220 pounds prior to cremation. She saw the information that the person’s weight in pounds prior to death would equal cubic inches of ashes:
So she looked at the urns with a capacity of 220 cubic inches and chose the Bluefire Hand Blown Glass Cremation Urn for her father's ashes.
A few days later, we got a call from Cynthia wondering about our return policy. Cynthia’s issue? She had considered the size of the urn capacity-wise, but she hadn’t considered the final placement of the urn. The family had arranged to place the urn in a columbarium, and the beautiful glass urn was too tall for the niche. The good news was that we had several 220 cubic inch urns under 10 inches tall, and Cynthia had not yet placed the ashes in the glass urn. We made a simple exchange, and Cynthia was pleased to find an urn that memorialized her father and fit the final resting place.
When choosing an urn, it is important to think about where you will be placing the urn, as well as the size needed to hold the ashes. The cremation urn can be any dimension if you plan to display it in a home setting or if you wish to bury it. But if you are using a columbarium, call ahead to find out the niche size before choosing an urn. Some columbariums have very compact niches. Others have “family niches” (like family cemetery plots) with room for larger urns or multiple urns. For those who need an urn for a compact niche, we often recommend low rectangular urns like the Haven Cedar Cremation Urn.
You can read more about selecting urns and choosing the correct size on our resource page, "A Guide to Selecting Urns," where you will find a helpful video, article, and downloadable PDF. Our Cremation Urn Buying Guides section of the Stardust Memorials Blog also provides in depth details on Urn Vaults, Shopping Online for Urns, and more.