Things to consider when choosing a coffin

Choosing a coffin isn’t easy. 

It’s something you’ll have to do at a highly emotional time, and you may find yourself floundering with indecision at the enormity of the task.

Of course, some people are very specific about their own funeral service, and will helpfully leave instructions about the coffin and send-off they want.

However, most of us leave these decisions to the people who are left behind.

If that is the case, the first thing to consider is probably the cost.

But just as important is fitting a coffin to the person, their personality and taste.

Over the past 10 years or so, the choice of coffin has grown; you no longer have to go down the traditional route if you don’t want to. 

Thanks to technological advances and more eco-conscious attitudes, coffins now come in all materials, sizes and designs.

That means you can find one that’s as close as possible to perfect for your loved one.


You can choose from:

  • Traditional wooden coffins or caskets, often created from oak.
  • Cardboard coffins, which are an eco-friendly option that’s becoming increasingly popular, partly because with modern digital printing they can be decorated with imaginative, high-quality designs.
  • Veneered MDF is another popular choice, and common finishes include mahogany style and elm style veneers, which are laminated onto chipboard or medium density fibre board (MDF).
  • Natural coffins, which are woven from sustainable materials such as, wicker, willow, sea grass, bamboo and even banana leaves.
  • Wool coffins, eco-friendly, soft and tactile, the wool coffin is a comforting alternative for those who want something a little less conventional for their loved one.
  • Bespoke coffins, for which anything goes, coffins in the shape of shoes, guitars…it’s up to you

If you need guidance, your funeral director will be able to help you decide.


What’s the difference between a coffin and casket?


They both serve the same purpose, but whereas a coffin is tapered along the lines of the human body – wider at the top and narrow at the bottom – a casket is rectangular and has a lid that can be half opened so the body of the person can be viewed at the ceremony or wake.


How much does a coffin cost?

You can expect to pay upwards from a few hundred pounds. 

Cost will depend upon the material used, the design, types of handles and other fittings you specify. 

The more unique the design, the more costly. 

Caskets are more expensive because they are bulkier, and have more design features. 


Does a coffin have to fulfill certain requirements?


Yes. The type of coffin will depend upon the committal of your loved one. 

The requirements for cremation differ from those for burial, and if you want an eco-friendly burial you’ll need to check with the green burial site to ensure you choose the right coffin or casket. 

If a loved one dies overseas and the body needs to be flown back to the UK, it should be embalmed and placed in a zinc-lined coffin. 

You should also check with the airline to see if any other specifications must be met. 

A burial at sea will also have different requirements.


If you need guidance about the different kinds of coffins that are available, then complete the contact form on our website and we’ll get back to you.

Alternatively, call us today on 0161 204 7884 or send an email to