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What Size Urn Do I Need?

Cremation urns come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and with so many options one may wonder what is the appropriate size cremation urn for their loved one. In deciding on the right size urn to purchase there are a couple of considerations to be made.

Displacement of Cremated Remains

First and foremost consider the displacement of the cremains (cremated remains) of the person the cremation urn will be for. The displacement of cremains varies from one person to another and may not be relative to a persons body weight or height, yet here are some guidelines that may help with your decision.

Adults: Typically most of our cremation urns will be able to accommodate the entire cremains of an adult. When the crematory returns the cremains to the family they are contained in what is referred to as a "temporary cremains container" or "temporary cremation urn" which is usually made of plastic, rectangular in shape and has a hinged lid on the top from where the cremains are placed. The most common dimensions for this type of container are approximately 8" tall x 4-1/4" deep x 6" wide. The capacity of a container with these dimensions is about 200 cubic inches give or take a couple of inches depending on the thickness of the container walls.

The best way to determine what the displacement of an individual's cremains are is to open the top of the temporary cremation urn (or if you feel uncomfortable doing this have a close friend or relative do it) and measure the distance from the very top edge of the container to the top of the cremains (usually stored within a plastic bag in the container to prevent separation). For every inch of distance between the top of the cremains and the top of the temporary cremation urn that distance translates to approximately 25 cubic inches and should be subtracted from the total volume of 200 cubic inches to arrive at the approximate displacement.

Temporary cremation urn displacement =.............................200.0 cu. in.
Lets say the distance measured is 1.5" which translates to ...(-37.5 cu. in.)
Total cubic inch displacement =.........................................162.5

This figure may vary if the temporary cremation urn's dimensions are different from the ones given, but most temporary cremation urns fall within the dimensions provided.

Infants & Children: Infants and children usually require far less space than an adult. Typically an infant 1 year and younger will displace under 30 cubic inches. With children it varies due to the size of an individual and can be determined using the method prescribed for adults.

Placement of a Cremation Urn in a Columbarium or Niche

A columbarium or niche is modular in design consisting of many compartments or niches which open from the front and measure just large enough to accommodate one or two cremation urns and a few mementos. Usually located on cemetery grounds the columbariums can have marble, granite or even glass fronts for viewing the cremation urns.

If placing the cremation urn in a columbarium or a niche within a cemetery one must also consider the interior dimensions of the niche. Some of the urns we carry may not fit in every niche, it is important to make that determination prior to purchasing one as to avoid any returns. Every one of our urns has the dimensions and cubic inch displacement information provided on the product pages