How to Choose a Coffin or Casket

Information to help you choose the ideal coffin

Last updated: 16 March 2017

If you are arranging a funeral for your loved one, you will need to think about the type of coffin you want. There are many different styles and materials available.

When making your choice, you may want to consider:

  • The cost
  • The materials used
  • Whether it is environmentally friendly
  • The style of the coffin
  • The personality and taste of your loved one

Different materials and types

In the last decade or so, there has been a huge increase in the choices available for coffins. These include:

  • Traditional wooden coffins or caskets (for example, oak or pine)
  • Cardboard coffins
  • Veneered MDF, usually made to look like wood
  • Wool coffins or woollen burial shrouds
  • Wicker coffins, willow coffins, and coffins made from bamboo, seagrass or banana leaves
  • Personalised picture coffins with bespoke designs

If you have a specific type of coffin in mind, you can discuss this with your funeral director. They should be able to help you find the ideal coffin or casket for your loved one.

Special requirements

Bear in mind that you may need to fulfil certain requirements in your coffin selection, depending on the committal of your loved one.

If you have chosen cremation for your loved one, there will be certain guidelines set by the crematorium. Your funeral director will be able to show you a range of coffins suitable for cremation.

If you want your loved one to have an eco-friendly burial in a green burial site, you will need to check the requirements of that specific burial site, as they can vary. Some coffins can contain materials that do not biodegrade or contain toxic chemicals so it’s worth considering this before purchasing your coffin.

Sea burials have very strict rules about the type of coffin you can use. You must follow these rules in order to get a burial at sea licence.

There are also strict guidelines if you wish to repatriate your loved one abroad. The coffin must be zinc-lined and they must be embalmed. Specific airlines may also have extra regulations.

If you have any questions about what type of coffin is best for your loved one, speak to your funeral director about your needs.