Asking ‘how much does a coffin cost?’ is almost like asking ‘how long is a piece of string?’ That’s because the price of a coffin or caskets will vary significantly depending on the customisation and funeral director.
The cost of a coffin or casket generally makes up a substantial part of the overall funeral price. As a result, the cost discrepancy can also be due to a funeral director charging a highly inflated price. These big-ticket items are where funeral homes can make a substantial profit, so up-selling is rife in the Australian funeral industry.
At Bare, we don’t believe the price of a coffin (or funeral) reflects how much a person was loved. We’re on a mission to change this culture so that Australians can spend more on living – not dying!
In this article, we explain how much a coffin costs in Australia and provide some cheap coffin options.
How much does a coffin cost?
Coffin costs can range in price from as low as $300, to upwards of $10,000 for an elaborate and fully customised design. Coffins are usually cheaper than caskets, but we will refer to both as ‘coffins’ in this article to keep things simple. To learn more about the difference between coffins and caskets, read our article here.
Based on prices listed online, the cost of a simple cardboard coffin, generally used for an unattended, ‘bare cremation’, is around $300-$800. However, families who prefer a customised and decorated cardboard coffin for an attended ceremony should expect to pay $3,000-$5,000.
To make funerals affordable for more Australians, we include a simple eco-friendly bioboard coffin – a type of ‘cardboard coffin’ – in our Bare funeral arrangement prices.
When determining how much does a coffin cost, Australians should expect to pay between $1,000 and $4,000. It’s important to keep in mind that some premium features can shoot the cost of a coffin or casket upwards of $10,000-$15,000.
To give you a better indication of the cost of a coffin, you should consider what type of coffin is most appropriate for you and your family:
- The deceased person’s wishes
- If the coffin will be on display at the funeral/memorial
- Affordability and budget
- Religious or cultural requirements
- Traditional vs modern
- Environmental impact
- Open-casket viewing function
- Colour, material, shape or design specifications
The impact of COVID-19 has caused a shortage of materials and transportation in most industries, and the funeral industry is no exception. As a result, the cost of coffins and caskets are expected to rise worldwide, international news outlets are reporting.
How much does a simple coffin cost?
Each funeral home will have a different price for their cheapest coffin option.
‘Cardboard coffins’ are usually the most affordable option, typically costing around $300-600. They are made from sturdy, recycled materials and can usually hold up to about 200kg. Cardboard coffins are generally used for direct cremations as they won’t be on display at any ceremony.
Despite cheaper production cost, we have heard of funeral directors telling customers cardboard coffins are MORE expensive than pine coffins. It pays to shop around and compare prices.
To get a quote for a cremation with Bare, call 1800 071 176, or visit the Bare Cremation website here.
Aside from cardboard coffins, another cheap coffin is plywood or medium-density fibreboard (MDF). These affordable funeral options usually come with a flat lid and plastic handles.
Are coffins cheaper than caskets?
The main point of difference between a coffin and casket is the shape. Coffins are wider at the top and taper in towards the bottom. A coffin has a single lid that flips open, whereas a casket has two lids, split in the centre, to allow for open-casket viewings.
Both coffin and casket prices can vary significantly depending on the provider, based on the considerations mentioned earlier in this article. However, caskets are generally more expensive because they are usually lined with finer material and include extra features like cushions and interior trimmings.
Coffin prices can range from around $600 for a simple coffin, to upwards of $10,000+ for premium features or more customised designs. On the other hand, caskets range from around $1,500 for a basic product, to upwards of $15,000 for a premium casket.
Do we even need a coffin at a funeral?
Australia’s attitudes are changing when it comes to funerals. More Aussies today consider it a waste of money and resources to spend thousands on an expensive wooden box, only for it to get buried in the ground or cremated into ashes.
We surveyed 850 Australians* about their thoughts on funeral planning and less than half (41%) believed a coffin or casket was an important element of a funeral or memorial.
COVID restrictions are changing people’s attitudes about what’s important when it comes to saying goodbye. Families who have lost loved ones during COVID are commonly arranging unattended ‘bare’ cremations or burials, then planning attended memorials once restrictions ease, without a coffin present.
Direct cremation provider Bare empowers Australian families to separate the interment from the ceremony, saving them thousands compared with a traditional funeral.
Linda Van Uitregt, who lost her father Laurie during a Queensland lockdown, said her dad’s memorial took nothing away from the tribute to his life, despite not having a coffin present.
“There was literally no difference in the respect and reverence offered by the attendees and felt by the family. We gave Dad the send-off he deserved without any of the additional pain.”
Final thoughts on determining how much a coffin costs
Determining how much a coffin costs will vary between the funeral director and feature options. It’s important to have a clear idea of what is important and most appropriate for you and your family, and your budget. Once you know what you want to include, discuss these elements with your funeral director.
To get the best idea of how much a coffin costs, ask your funeral director for an itemised funeral quote. If affordability is a concern, or if you have a strict budget, let the funeral director know this early on and don’t be shy about asking for their cheapest coffin options. If they are not willing to work with you to keep coffin costs low, that is a good indication you should inquire elsewhere.
There are no rules about going with the nearest funeral home, or the first one you contact. Shop around for the best price and service you and your family are comfortable with. If you aren’t 100% happy with their service or prices, you are free to swap funeral providers even after your loved one has been transferred into their care.
To get a price for an affordable funeral visit the Bare Cremation website or call 1800 071 176.
*Bare Cremation’s Funeral Insights Study was conducted in July 2021, based on a sample of 850 Australians.