Average Cremation Costs: A Basic Overview

Updated September 4, 2020
Woman with mortuary urn

The average cost of cremation will depend on the location of the services, which services are provided, and specific circumstances that may impact pricing. Learn the average cremation costs and what factors can make them cost more or less.

Cremation Cost

The average cremation cost is about $2,000, not including a viewing or funeral service, which can drive the price a bit above $5,000.

Understanding a Basic Cremation

Typically, a basic cremation includes the following:

  • The body is transported to the crematorium.
  • Professionals complete appropriate paperwork.
  • They body is prepared (cleaned and dressed).
  • The body is placed in an appropriate container.
  • The body is cremated, and cremains (ashes) are placed in a container and returned to the deceased individual's loved ones.
  • A funeral or memorial service may take place before or after the cremation process, depending on the family's wishes.

If you opt for a memorial service, funeral service, and/or urn burial, the cost will increase, typically by thousands of dollars, but this will vary depending on the service provider. The urn and cremation container can also range in terms of pricing from under $100 to over $1,000 for each.

What Is the Cheapest Way to Be Cremated?

There are a couple options when it comes to more affordable cremation services. These include:

  • Direct cremation costs anywhere from $500 to $1,000 and includes body transportation, cremation services, and the return of the ashes to the deceased individual's loved ones.
  • If a body is donated to science, one can receive a free cremation, and ashes are returned to the deceased individual's loved ones several weeks later.
cremation service

What Is the Cost of a Typical Cremation?

A typical cremation will range in cost depending on your location, and the availability of the services provided. For example:

  • In cities where there are a lot of crematoriums, price may be driven down.
  • In smaller cities where there may only be one or a few crematorium options, prices may be a bit higher.
  • Basic cremations typically include some sort of service before or after the cremation, while a direct cremation may not include a service.
  • Price is significantly altered based on whether a service and/or urn burial will be included in the cost.

Cremation Cost Near Me

To find crematorium options near you:

  • Search your desired location for the cremation and add "crematorium" or "cremation."
  • Find a few options of licensed crematoriums to connect with.

Compare prices and know that there are typically ways to cut costs if you are having difficulty finding affordable services. Having a funeral service, wake, and/or viewing can significantly increase the price of the overall service. Cremation casket material can also impact price significantly, with the most affordable cremation casket being composed of cardboard.

Cost of Cremation vs. Burial

Burial costs will also vary depending on your location. A typical burial costs upwards of $4,000, not including the casket, funeral, or memorial service. With funerals in total, the costs tend to be around $8,000 dollars but in some locations, they can be even higher. In general, cremation tends to be the more affordable option when it comes to end of life planning.

Can You Be Cremated Without a Coffin?

While you don't need to be cremated in a coffin, typically a cremation casket or container is required. Cremation caskets are different from a casket or coffin used for burial. Cremation caskets must be made of wood, cardboard, or another combustible material. Cremation caskets can range in pricing from $50 to a few thousand depending on the material selected.

How Is a Body Prepared for Cremation?

Body preparations prior to cremation include cleaning the body, tagging the body for identification purposes, and removing jewelry and/or medical devices if the family requests to have these back. From there, the body is gently placed in the cremation casket.

Cost of Cremation

Cremation services come in varying price ranges that are often more affordable than a traditional burial.

Average Cremation Costs: A Basic Overview