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How Much Does a Cremation Cost?

Cremation is generally the more affordable option for most families, with averages around $750-$3,500. Some states require that you engage the services of a funeral director instead of dealing directly with a crematorium, you'll want to research cremation only companies vs. full-service funeral homes when making your decision.

Some funeral homes will charge more than others or will offer you unnecessary addons, so it’s important to do some research before you decide on the home you’d like to do business with. You can always check out Funeral Homes here on Ever Loved by browsing our database to compare prices, locations, and features.

If you're like most families, paying for a funeral is an often unexpected and overwhelming cost. Many families find that creating a memorial fundraiser can help them rally their family, friends, and community into assisting them with funeral costs. Many families have also found either free cremations or low cost cremations by opting to donate the body to science.

Free or Low Cost Cremation

Free cremation (or low cost cremation) usually occurs when a family decides to donate a body to science. By donating the body to science you're helping medical researches perform important research that benefits the rest of society. Make sure you choose a reputable company, like Science Care, that offers free cremation as a part of their body donation program. After the company or organization you have the body donated to is finished, they will usually return the ashes to the family, free of charge.

Why is cremation less expensive?

Cremation is generally the less expensive option, especially when a direct cremation takes place. A direct cremation is when the body is almost immediately cremated and does not include a funeral service. It is always Direct cremation is less expensive due to a few factors.

  1. No viewing or wake. The body will not be prepared or embalmed, which means that a traditional viewing or wake will not be held.
  2. No casket. Cremations can be done in cardboard containers, which means you won’t be spending anywhere from $2,000-$5,000 on a casket. Cremation containers usually cost around $50.
  3. No funeral home. If you live in a state where you can directly engage the services of a crematorium, you’ll skip the fee of having to go through a funeral home. This involves avoiding the services fee, which can usually run about $2,000.
  4. No memorial service. Memorial services are usually held for families that choose to bury a body, but can absolutely be held for someone who has been cremated. This is entirely optional and up to you. Note that Memorial Services can always be held in a private home or venue and do not need to be done through a Funeral Home..

The ashes, or cremains, are generally stored in an urn after cremation is performed, which eliminates the need for a burial vault or plot, which can cost anywhere from $200-$20,000.

Browse urns

Cremation Costs vs. Burial Costs

Here’s a general breakdown of what you can expect when comparing cremation costs to burial costs. Something to note is that cremation costs can be as low as $485 depending on the state, if you opt for a direct cremation with a simple container. Cremation costs increase considerably when services are held and the body is prepared. Keep in mind that these prices will vary depending on state, location, and services you opt for.

Direct Cremation Costs:

Cremation Fee - $450 - $3,000
Urn - $50 - $550
Average Total - $500-$3,550

Cremation Costs (with viewing & preparation of the body):

Services Fee - $2,100
Transfer of Remains - $325
Embalming - $725
Use of Staff & Facilities for Ceremony -$425
Use of Staff & Facilities for Viewing -$500
Service Car - $150
Memorial Prints - $160
Cremation Fee - $485 - $1,500
Cremation casket - $60 - $1,500
Urn - $50 - $550
Average Total - $4,980 - $7,935

Burial Costs

Nondeclinable basic services fee - $2,100
Removal/transfer of remains to funeral home - $325
Embalming - $725
Other preparation of the body - $250
Use of facilities/staff for viewing - $425
Use of facilities/staff for funeral ceremony - $500
Hearse - $325
Service car/van - $150
Basic memorial printed package - $160
Metal casket - $2,400
Median Cost of a Funeral With Viewing and Burial - $7,360
Vault - $1,395
Average total with vault - $8,755

Things to Keep in Mind

It’s important to shop around. Costs are likely to increase when impulsive or rash decisions are made. While it’s extremely difficult to make rational decisions when clouded by the fog of grief, it’s important to take a step back and analyze your choices. Shopping around can be difficult, so we’ve made it easy to compare prices online using our database.

It’s not necessary to purchase all options that are suggested by a Funeral Home. Sometimes families will feel pressured to purchase options that weren’t necessary when dealing with Funeral Homes. Have a plan and an idea in place before you shop around so that you can be clear on what you’re looking for. It’s also important to have an idea about the average prices of services in your area before you start dealing directly with businesses.

You can still hold your own services. Even if you choose not to have a wake, viewing, or memorial service through a funeral home, you can always hold your own services. Holding your own services, especially in a free or public venue is a great way to honor your loved one while still avoiding high funeral costs.

You're not alone. Many families turn to their friends and community in times of distress and need, funerals are no different. If you're struggling to raise funds for a loved one who has passed away, creating a memorial fundraiser is a great place to start. Many families are surprised by the overwhelming generosity of those close to them after a successful fundraiser.

Sources: Funeral & Cremation Cost Breakdown

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Last updated February 15, 2022
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