How To Choose The Right Size Urn

Cremation Urns - What Is The Right Size?

As the popularity of cremation continues to rise, more families are turning to cremation urns to honor their loved ones. While there are many styles and types of urns available, the most important factor to consider is size. Depending on the size of the deceased, the amount of ashes, and the intended purpose of the urn, the right size urn can make all the difference. Let's explore the various sizes of cremation urns and how they can best serve the needs of bereaved families.

Cremation On The Rise

First, let's take a look at what has caused the sudden change in families looking at urns instead of coffins.

Over the last twenty years, there has been a significant increase in the number of cremations in the United States.  The numbers are expected to continue to rise as Americans look for alternative ways of handling death.

According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the cremation rate has grown from 25% in 2000 to over 60% in 2020. This trend is expected to continue, with the cremation rate projected to reach 78% by 2040.

There is a reason for the increased number of cremations across the United States. But, no one reason stands out more than the rest. 

  • Cost - Cremation is typically less expensive than a traditional burial. The average cost of a cremation is around $6,000, while the average cost of a traditional funeral is around $7,000. For many families, the cost savings associated with cremation make it a more attractive option.
  • Flexibility - Cremation allows for more flexibility in terms of memorialization and disposition. With cremation, families can choose to keep the ashes in an urn, bury them in a cemetery, or scatter them in a special location. This gives families more control over the final disposition of their loved one's remains.
  • Changing Attitudes - There has been a shift in attitudes towards death and funerals in recent years. Many people view cremation as a more environmentally friendly option, as it eliminates the need for embalming fluids and a casket. Additionally, some people see cremation as a way to separate the physical body from the soul or spirit.
  • Religious Beliefs - Many religions now permit cremation, including Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. This has made it a more acceptable option for people of various religious backgrounds.
  • Opportunities For Ash Scattering Memorials - When a loved one chooses cremation they can also choose where their final resting place will be. Some families would rather have a decorative urn filled with the ashes to display in the home but others choose to have their ashes scattered in a meaningful place such as their hometown or even the place where they met their spouse. Eternal Alaska offers Ash Scattering Memorials in Alaska, Hawaii, the Rocky Mountains, and even New York City. The possibilities are endless. 

So, with more and more families choosing cremation, they will be looking for the perfect urn. But perfect isn't always just looks. Size matters in death, too.

Understanding Sizes Of Cremation Urns

Cremation urns are generally classified by size as either “small”, “medium”, “large”, or “extra-large”. But what does each size mean in terms of capacity and measurements? Let’s take a closer look:


  • Normally listed as a "keepsake" urn,
  • Capacity is generally from 1 to 20 cubic inches,
  • Measurements: Approximately 4” - 6” in height,
  • Available to match the regular-size urn.
Eternal Blue Skies Large and keepsake urns from


  • Often look like a full-size urn,
  • Capacity is generally up to 70 - 100 cubic inches,
  • Measurements: Approximately 6” - 8” in height,
  • Often sold as pet urns.


  • Normally listed as an adult urn or full-size urn,
  • Capacity is generally up to 200 cubic inches,
  • Measurements: Approximately 8"-10" in height,
  • Also available in sets with matching keepsake urns.

Moss Oak Cremation Urn from Eternal Alaska Urns at


  • Normally listed as an extra large urn,
  • Capacity is generally up to 200-320 cubic inches,
  • Measurements: Approximately 11"-15" in height,
  • Available to match the regular-size urn.

The capacity of each urn size indicates the amount of ashes it can hold. Generally, 1 cubic inch of ashes equals approximately 1 pound of body weight before cremation. So it’s important to consider the weight of the deceased when choosing an urn.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Urn Size

When choosing an urn size, there are a few factors that should be considered. Here are some key questions to ask when making your decision:

  • How many people will be sharing the ashes? If multiple people will be sharing the ashes, you may need one large urn and numerous "keepsake" urns. One for each person who will be sharing the ashes.
  • What is the intended purpose of the urn? Is the urn intended to be buried or placed in a niche, or will it be kept in the home?
  • Is the urn intended to be a permanent memorial or a temporary keepsake?
  • How much space is available in the desired location? Make sure to consider the width, height and depth of the intended location when selecting an urn size.
  • Will the urn be used to scatter the ashes? There is a large variety of scattering tubes on the market today made especially for scattering.

The Right Cremation Urn for You

Ultimately, the right size urn for you depends on your needs and preferences. Consider your budget, the intended purpose of the urn and other factors to determine the best size for you.

Other Urn Options

In addition to the standard sizes of cremation urns, there are other types of urns available as well. These include biodegradable urns, cremation jewelry, keepsake urns, and even pet urns. Whichever type of urn you choose, make sure it is the right size and style to best honor your loved one.

Choosing the right size cremation urn is an important decision and one that should be given due consideration. Consider your needs and the size of the deceased when making your decision to ensure you choose the right size urn for your loved one.

Stan Reese is the owner and President of Eternal Alaska and Legacy Ashes.


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