The difference between Caskets and Coffins

Having to make funeral arrangements is never an easy task. You have to plan the funeral service, choose between burial and cremation, and choose between a coffin and a casket. You must arrange all this during a time of mourning. Sometimes, a person may have already made all the decisions before their death. However, you will have to decide for them if they have not. Most people are unclear with the choice between a casket and a coffin as they don’t know the difference. This article will compare the two so that you can make the right decision for your loved one’s funeral service.

Which One to Pick

Ultimately, the choice between a casket or a coffin depends on your budget and your loved ones’ wishes. Funeral homes may suggest coffins as an affordable option over a large casket. It also depends on whether there will be a burial or cremation for your loved one. If the price difference is not an issue, you and your family can make a decision based on aesthetics. Caskets are typically considered to be a more premium option compared to coffins.

About Coffins

Coffins are usually made from inexpensive wood and as such cost less than caskets. Coffins typically have six sides and range from plain to ornate. They generally have a wider top with a tapered end. Bodies generally lie with the head at the wider end with the feet at the tapered end. Coffins are mostly associated with cheaper, simpler funerals.

About Caskets

The modern casket may have originated from burial containers similar to sarcophagi or stone coffins. These were made of various materials and had intricate patterns. Caskets nowadays have a large, rectangular shape and four sides. They are made from more expensive materials and are what most people are familiar with seeing during a funeral service or visit to a funeral home.

Similarities Between Caskets and Coffins

The confusion between coffins and caskets is largely due to their similarities.

  • Used for Burial and Cremation

A coffin and a casket are essentially a box that families use for the remains of the deceased. They are used in funeral homes during funeral services and can be buried or cremated. Some people even opt to bury their loved one’s remains after cremation in a coffin or casket.

  • Have Metal Handles for Carrying

Both coffins and caskets have handles that make them easier to carry. Many funerals entail carrying the coffin or casket with these handles or using them to help place it on the shoulders of the pallbearers.

Differences Between Caskets and Coffins

Despite their similarities, there are noticeable differences between coffins and caskets.

  • Different Shape

The main difference between coffins and caskets is the shape. Coffins have six sides while caskets have four sides. Coffins are also wider at the top than at the end.

  • Materials Used in Construction

The price difference between coffins and caskets is largely due to the material used during construction. Many caskets generally consist of solid wood, while coffins do not.

  • The Way They Open

Both coffins and caskets have a lid that opens to allow viewing of the deceased at the funeral home. However, the difference between a coffin and a casket is that a coffin has a removable lid. A casket’s lid has hinges that allow the entire lid or only the top half to open during funerals.


There are several factors that families need to finalise for a funeral of a loved one. Funeral homes help by providing the options but it is up to you to decide how you want to honour your loved one’s life. Although coffins may seem like a cheaper alternative, many people feel that caskets offer a more fitting burial option for your nearest and dearest. If you are thinking of opting for a casket please contact our friendly advisers and we will talk through the options with you.