What size cremation urn do I need?

The size of cremation urn you need can depend on more than one issue, as Stardust Memorials customer Glen found out. When Glen placed his order on our website, he was focused on the capacity of the urn. His brother who had died was a fairly large guy—215 lbs. He saw the information that the person’s weight in pounds prior to death would equal cubic inches of cremated ashes: 1 pound = 1 cubic inch. So he looked at the urns with a capacity over 215 cubic inches and made his choice of the Turquoise Lustre Raku Ceramic Cremation Urn.

A few days later, we got a call from Glen to ask about our return policy. The problem? Although Glen had considered the size of the urn capacity-wise, he hadn’t thought about the final placement of the urn. His brother’s final resting place was intended to be a niche in a columbarium. When Glen looked at the paperwork, he saw that the niche was only 10 inches tall—the 11 ¼ inch high raku urn was not going to fit into the niche. The good news was that we had several 220 cubic inch urns under 10 inches tall, and Glen had not yet placed the ashes in the urn he purchased. We made a simple exchange, and Glen was relieved to get an urn that honored his brother at the size he really needed.

To sum up, it is important to think about the final placement of the cremation urn as well as how much urn capacity you may need. The urn’s dimensions can be any size if you plan to display the urn in a home setting or if you plan 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.

If you are looking for even more general information, Stardust Memorials has a great resource page called About Urn Sizes. As shared on that page, most people need an adult size cremation urn. Adult size urns are the most common size. The ashes of anyone who was shorter than 6 feet tall or weighed less than 220 lbs. prior to cremation will fit in a standard adult urn. The extra large size of cremation urn is best for larger framed adults and those over 6 feet tall. Small or medium cremation urns are for a portion of an adult's ashes or for a child.  A keepsake urn is for a small amount of ashes kept in remembrance -- generally just a few tablespoons.