Advice on Buying Metal Caskets

Metal caskets are very popular in the United States.

Are you wondering how to buy a metal casket? Most people don't give much thought to purchasing a burial container until they are planning the funeral of a loved one. A metal casket is just one of the options available.

The Casket Industry

Before the 19th century, caskets in the United States were made on an as-needed basis by the local undertaker or a carpenter. Over time, casket manufacturers started producing units and distributing them to local and regional customers. Cloth-covered, hardwood and metal caskets were available from more than 700 companies by 1950.

Of the total number of units sold, metal caskets made up approximately 25 percent of the market. This figure jumped to more than 30 percent of sales by the mid-1950s, due to the increased availability of sheet metal after the Korean War ended. Now, more than half the caskets sold in the United States are made from metal.

Types of Metal Caskets

There are many types of metal caskets available depending on your taste and budget.

Steel Gauges

Metal caskets are available in 16-, 18- and 20-gauge steel. Sixteen-gauge steel is the heaviest weight used to manufacture metal caskets, while 20-gauge is the lightest. To picture 20-gauge steel, think of the panels on the side of a car, which are made from this weight.

Non-Gasketed Metal Caskets

Non-gasketed metal caskets are made from 20-gauge steel and are the most economical to purchase. They usually have square corners and may be spot-welded together.

Other Metals Used for Caskets

In addition to steel, caskets can also be constructed out of copper or bronze. Descriptions for both of these options include a reference to the weight per square foot of the metal (for example, 32 or 34 ounces). These metals are chosen because of their durability.

How to Buy a Metal Casket

If you have time to shop for a metal casket, take your time and compare your options.

It Pays to Shop Around

While it is possible to buy a metal casket from a funeral home, this is not the only option for consumers. It is convenient to make the majority of the funeral arrangements from one location, but it may be possible to get better pricing on a casket from a casket retailer, either in person, online, or over the phone.

Funeral homes are required to provide consumers with a detailed price list outlining the services they provide and the consumer is free to choose which services they would like to purchase. Under the provisions of the Federal Trade Commission Ruling (Rule #16 C.F.R. part 453), consumers are not required to purchase all items relating to a funeral from the funeral home. By law, funeral directors are prohibited from both refusing or charging a fee to anyone who wants to purchase a casket elsewhere for a loved one's funeral.

Check Terms

If you are purchasing a metal casket from another retailer, ask whether the price you are being quoted includes delivery to the funeral home or another location of your choice.

Custom Metal Caskets

Some families may want to have a custom metal casket made for their loved one. Ask the retailer if this is an option and how long it will take.

Discuss Options With Your Family

Many people find it difficult to discuss casket choices in advance or to approach a family member to ask them what type of celebration of life they would like. As awkward as this conversation may be, it is more difficult making the decision to buy a metal casket (or another type of container) after the individual has passed away.

If the family has some idea in advance, they can choose the style, type, and color of casket the person would have liked. It may even be possible to purchase the casket at today's prices in anticipation for the time when it will be needed. If this option interests you, be sure you are dealing with a company that you are confident will be in business for some time to come.


Advice on Buying Metal Caskets