If you’re planning a funeral for a loved one, it can be tough to decide between a coffin vs casket. With so many options and customisations available, it can be tricky to weigh up the type of coffin or casket that’s most suitable.

This article explains the main differences between a coffin and a casket, in terms of design, price and practicality. It will help guide you through the process of selecting a coffin or a casket that best suits the funeral you’re arranging.

What’s the difference between a coffin and casket?

You may think that ‘casket’ is just another word for a ‘coffin’, but that’s not the case. They are actually two very different products. Both coffins and caskets are commonly used in planning a funeral, however, they often have distinct differences in shape and style.

When most people think of a coffin or casket, it’s the traditionally shaped coffin that usually comes to mind. The shape is the main point of difference between a coffin and casket. Coffins are often wider, with more room around the top, and taper in towards the bottom. The lid of a coffin flips open, with handles on either side to carry it.

In contrast, caskets are rectangular, with no differences in width or length. Caskets generally have a split lid, which allows the upper half to be opened as needed for an open-casket viewing or during the funeral.

Environmentally-friendly ‘cardboard coffins’ are generally used for direct cremations.
Environmentally-friendly ‘cardboard coffins’ are generally used for direct cremations.

What’s the price difference between a coffin and casket?

Both coffin and casket prices can vary significantly depending on the provider, according to Gathered Here. Coffin prices can generally range from around $600 to upwards of $10,000 for more high-end or customised designs. Caskets, on the other hand, range from around $1,500 for a basic casket, to upwards of $15,000 for a top-of-the-line casket.

Price of a ‘cardboard coffin’.

Environmentally-friendly ‘cardboard coffins’ are the most affordable option, typically costing around $600. Made from recycled materials, they are generally used for direct cremations as there is no formal funeral or ceremony, so they aren’t on display to the public. Aside from the affordability benefits, ‘cardboard coffins’ also help to reduce CO2 emissions by creating a lower carbon footprint than standard wood-style coffins.

Price of a coffin.

Basic coffins, made from plywood or medium-density fibreboard, are priced around the $800 to $1,500 range. These coffins generally come with a flat lid and plastic handles.Mid-range coffins, costing about $2,000 to $4,000, have slightly more detail and craftsmanship involved. They usually contain metal handles, a tiered lid, varnish finish and more detail in their construction.

Caskets generally have a split lid, which allows for an open-casket viewing.
Caskets generally have a split lid, which allows for an open-casket viewing.

Price of a casket.

Caskets are generally more expensive than coffins because they are usually lined with finer material and include extra features like cushions and interior trimmings. The double lid tops allow for a viewing, if that’s something you would like to include in the funeral ceremony.

If you’re arranging a funeral and would prefer a casket, these can range from around $2,000 to $15,000, depending on your choice of customisation. For a casket with more elaborate features, you can expect to pay upwards of $6,000. These high-end options are usually highly customisable to a family’s wishes.

Caskets can vary in the finish of wood or material used and contain greater detail in their exterior construction. They can also come with double lid tops to allow for a viewing. More affordable casket options include basic interior trimmings only and a single lid top, which are not suitable for viewings.

How to choose a coffin or casket.

The choice between a coffin and a casket is a personal decision when planning a funeral. There are many options available, at varying price points, depending on what’s most appropriate to farewell your loved one. When weighing up a coffin vs casket, consider the type of funeral ceremony you’re arranging and what’s most suitable to farewell your loved one. You might also consider other key factors like budget, environmental impact and practicality. You can read more about environmental impacts of funerals in our article here.

Coffins are often more affordable than caskets, which can be advantageous if you have budget constraints. If you’re planning a funeral with a viewing, then a casket with a double lid top is generally going to be the more suitable option.

On the other hand, if you’re arranging an unattended direct cremation, a ‘cardboard coffin’ will be suitable, and is included in the cost of a Bare Cremation.

To get an instant quote for a cremation, follow this link here, or you can give us a call on 1800 071 171.