If you’ve attended a funeral before or watched a film that included a funeral scene, you’re likely familiar with the sight of pallbearers - typically between six to eight people who are in charge of carrying the coffin (either at waist height or over their shoulders). Having seen this, you might be wondering: how much does a casket weigh, exactly?
The answer is dependent on many different factors. The most important of these factors is the material used to construct the casket. There are several different types of coffin or casket materials:
Wood. A common choice for casket construction, wood is often selected for its sturdiness and attractiveness. Generally speaking, wooden caskets can weigh anywhere from 150 to 250 pounds; of course, certain types of wood weigh more than other types. Pine (~150 pounds), for example, is relatively light in comparison to mahogany (up to 250 pounds) or cherry wood. Maple, walnut and oak fall somewhere in between pine and mahogany in terms of weight, and are also popular choices for caskets.
Metal. You might assume that metal caskets are heavier than wood caskets. But actually, that’s not usually the case. Since metal is stronger than wood, it doesn’t need to be quite as thick as wood in order to guarantee stability. Therefore, metal caskets can be constructed with thinner walls, resulting in a lighter overall weight (around 180-200 pounds on average).
As with wood, there are many different types of metal that can be used in casket construction. While 18 - 20 gauge steel is the most common material, stainless steel, copper and even gold are also used to build caskets. (As you would imagine, gold caskets are both extremely heavy and extraordinarily expensive.)
20-gauge steel caskets generally weigh somewhere in the neighborhood of 170-190 pounds, as do stainless steel caskets.
Plywood, Fiberboard and Cardboard. For those looking for an economical yet attractive option, plywood and fiberboard caskets are a good choice. These caskets are lighter than solid wood, and are typically constructed with a hardwood finish or a veneer to emulate solid wood. They can also be painted.
Sturdy cardboard caskets have an additional advantage of being biodegradable, and many are made from recycled materials, making them an environmentally friendly option. If you are planning cremation for your loved one, a cardboard casket is also a good choice, as it is combustible. Cardboard caskets are, not surprisingly, much lighter than their heavy wood counterparts (70 to 80 pounds on average), though you can rest assured that reputable cardboard casket manufacturers will never make any compromises with regard to overall stability. They can also be covered with fabric for an elegant appearance.
Other Factors in Determining How Much a Casket Weighs
While the material from which a casket is made is arguably the most important indication of how much it weighs, it’s not the only factor. There are several other aspects of a casket that may add to its total weight. These include:
Casket Size. Oversized caskets can be purchased to accommodate bodies that are taller or heavier; due to their larger size, these caskets weigh more than standard caskets.
Hardware and Decorative Elements. Most caskets are fitted with hinges and clasps, as well as rods and handles to allow for them to be lifted more easily. This hardware can be quite heavy, especially if it’s crafted from brass or another solid metal.
Some people also choose to adorn the interior of the casket with decorative panels, objects of sentimental value and other adornments - which could add to the casket’s overall weight, depending on what they are and how they’re made.
Inner Materials. While the fabric inside of a casket is rarely heavy enough to make a substantial difference, it can add to the overall weight of the container. Thick rubber gaskets, for example, are often employed to seal the casket and protect its interior from outside elements.
Deciding on a casket is one of the most important facets of funeral planning, and there are many factors to take into consideration when making your choice. Knowing all of your options, including how much different caskets weigh, can help you make the decision that is right for you.
Regulations vary between jurisdictions. You should consult your local funeral professional for the most accurate and up-to-date information.Do you have other questions? Titan Casket is dedicated to providing you with the answers you need. Let us be your trusted ally in planning the funeral you want at an affordable, fair price. Contact us in the chat window or here to get started.