4 Basic Rules for Choosing the Right Urn For Ashes

4 Basic Rules for Choosing the Right Urn For Ashes

Finding a suitable cremation urn for your loved one may be overwhelming and distressing. There are various factors to consider when selecting a cremation urn, including shape, colour, size and even your loved one's personality and interests.

So how can a choice of one urn be made given the vast array of cremation urns available? Keep this four basic rules to make the process of choosing an urn easier. Let's start...

Purpose of the urn

Before you make any decision regarding your urn and eventually buy one, you need to decide its purpose. Are you going to be dividing the ashes amongst family? Or maybe you intend to bury it? Many people prefer to store the ashes in their home or garden. Those are all valid questions and depending on what you decide will help you proceed with picking the right urn. 

Set of ceramic art urns for ashes by Pulvis Art Urns

"Guardian" set of ceramic urns for ashes - by Pulvis Art Urns


For example, if you are planning to keep the urn at your home itself, look for attractive yet thoughtful funeral urns. At our website you will find a variety of memorials, suitable both for home and outdoors. 

Need some ideas ? Here you will find our top suggestionsBest Ideas for Keeping Ashes at Home

If you are going to place the urn in a columbarium niche, the dimensions are very important and you should keep in mind that most of the columbarium niches vary in size.

Price of the chosen memorial

Cremation urns come in different price range so the second step, after deciding the urn's purpose, is to know what you'd like to budget.

 Video of a "Guardian" keepsake urn for ashes by Pulvis Art Urns


There are many high-quality urns in the 165$ - 190$ price range, but if you have a moderate budget (250- 350$) you can find cremation urns with greater production value, such as handcrafted urns, which require more man-hours to create. Pulvis Art Urns are the right choice for this price. Visit our Etsy store for more information - https://www.etsy.com/shop/PulvisArtUrns 

Take in mind that most funeral homes have a small selection of urns for ashes and charge more for them. There can be a considerable price difference between an urn, bought online and the exact same urn at a funeral home. Checking the prices in advance will help you feel satisfied with your eventual purchase.

Once you have established how much you want to spend, it's time to focus on the other aspects of the process.

Size of the cremation urn

Cremation urns come in variety of sizes, but they are usually grouped into three main categories: adult, keepsake and extra large.

The typical size needed is adult cremation urn. This size will generally hold the ashes of a grown adult with weight 200-220 lbs. prior cremation. 

The keepsake urn is needed when you want to divide the ashes between family members and keep small amounts for remembrance.

Large and keepsake urn for ashes (by Pulvis Art Urns)

Large and keepsake urn for ashes by Pulvis Art Urns (model "The Passage")


As a rule of thumb, each pound of body weight equals roughly one cubic inch of ashes after cremation. It is suggested to select an urn a bit larger than the space, expected to use. Usually, created remains weigh 3-7 pounds and require about 180-220 cubic inches capacity. In case you have decided to store the urn in a columbarium, check with the authorities about the size of urns allowed. 

Here are some practical examples: 

  • 220 lb. person needs an urn that is around 220 cubic inches or larger
  • 150 lb. person needs an urn that is around 150 cubic inches or larger
  • 140 lb. person needs an urn that is around 140 cubic inches or larger
  • 50 lb. person or pet needs an urn that is around 50 cubic inches or larger
  • 25 lb. person or pet needs an urn that is around 25 cubic inches or larger


  • There are many  other factors that play into how much ashes you will actually receive from the crematorium. Becuase of that we can't always guarantee that an urn will be large enough, but if you follow our rules above, or write to us about consultation then 99% of the time we'll be right on.
  • The 1 to 1 ratio, that we mention above should always be kept! 
  • Urn capacity can only be too small. An urn is only too big if you think it is too big.
  • Cremaains (ashes) can vary in amount due to different processes durring cremation, temperature variations and the bone structure of the decedent.
  • Choose an urn slightly larger than the needed to avoid having the urn be to small for the ashes. If you decide you can split some of the ashes in a keepsake.
  • The Cremation Association of North America (CANA) determined that the standard capacity of a single adult urn should be around 200 cubic inches. Keepsake urns are exclusion to that rule. 


Extra large urns are for very tall or larger framed individuals (over 6 feet tall).

There are also the so called "Companion" urns or double urns. They can fit the ashes of two adult persons, usually a family. 


Material of the urn

Usually this aspect of the process depends on your price preferences, however, that is not always true. Cremation urns are made of different materials such as ceramic, wood, bronze, granite, brass, glass, porcelain, marble, etc. The urns themes and styles are almost limitless and our advice here is to take into consideration the personality, passions and interests of your loved one. Engraving is also an option if you want to further personalize the cremation urn.

Wooden urns, for example, are not likely to be durable when displayed in an outdoor setting. Similarly, brass urns are not usually recommended for burial.

If you are looking for a unique, artistic luxury urn check out our ceramic urns for ashes. 

Luxury ceramic urns for ashes by Pulvis Art Urns!

Resonance ceramic art urns for ashes - large and keepsake


Choosing the right urn will undoubtedly pay homage to your loved one. By following those four simple steps and narrowing your choice among the vast array of urns will change the challenging task into a satisfying outcome. If you are having a hard time deciding on the perfect urn, don't hesitate having other family members or a close friend join in on the decision.

Of course we are always at your disposal. Visit other articles from our blog to find more information. 

You can always find us at [email protected] for advice.