How Much Does a Casket Weigh?

In the midst of all the emotional and familial concerns that surround planning a funeral, it can often be difficult to discern the specifics of the most practical elements of the service. How much should a casket really cost? Do I have to buy one from the funeral home? And how much does a casket weigh, anyways? At Willow & Werth, we try to demystify these important practical questions and bring some transparency to the death care industry. Here we’ll focus on the last of these: how much does a casket weigh? This can be a surprisingly important consideration, given that the casket will likely be carried by friends and family members as part of the service.

 

Typical Casket Weight

Most caskets weigh between 100 and 300 lbs, depending on the materials involved. Lighter woods such as poplar yield lighter caskets, while heavier materials like copper push the outer edges of the range. At Willow & Werth, all models weigh around 225 lbs, making comparisons easy across materials. A standard casket is around 27 inches wide and 84 inches long, and commercial caskets are tested to carry 500 lbs. These measurements are general, but can provide helpful guidelines for comparison across different materials and manufacturers.

Pallbearers

The weight of a casket is mostly relevant when considering the pallbearers who will be responsible for carrying the casket out from the service. The term pallbearer comes from the world “pall,” which indicates a heavy, often lavishly decorated cloth used to cover caskets. In military funerals, the flag of the United States of America is often used as a pall.

Caskets are usually equipped for six pallbearers, with three handles on each side. There may also be handles on the front and back of the casket to allow for two extra pallbearers as well. Friends or family members who would like to serve in this capacity but may not have the physical strength to carry the casket can also serve as honorary pallbearers, and walk alongside the casket. Choosing appropriate pallbearers is an important consideration, especially for heavy or oversized caskets.

Oversized Caskets

Depending on the size of the deceased, it may be necessary for families to purchase an oversized casket to accommodate their loved one. These have become increasingly popular as people continue to grow larger over time while standard casket sizes have remained unchanged. Oversized caskets are wider than traditional caskets (up to 52 inches), and are designed and tested to hold several hundred pounds more than their standard counterparts.

If families are considering an oversized casket, they should also take into account that larger caskets also often require extra accommodations, such as larger grave plots and funeral transportation methods. Additional equipment may be required to lift the casket at the funeral home and at the grave site, and cremation costs and requirements are also likely to change.

Final Thoughts

Casket weights don’t vary hugely outside of the standard range, but it’s an important consideration for planning a funeral service, especially if the casket will be carried by friends and family. The modern funeral industry is built around enticing grieving families to make emotional decisions: that’s how they sell unnecessarily expensive add-ons and materials. If families are empowered with the specifics of casket options, such as dimensions, price, and industry standards, they are more likely to secure a better casket at a better price for their loved one.

 

Daniel Adler