If you plan to bury your loved one’s cremated ashes, you’ll probably need a cremation urn designed for burial.
In this article, we’ll talk about your options for burial urns. We’ll also cover factors you need to consider, what you should ask the cemetery about, and then we’ll list our favorite cremation urns for burial.
Please note that this post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase something you see on our site we may receive a commission at no cost to you. See our full disclosure here for more details.
What You Need to Know About Urn Burial
For burial of cremated remains, most cemeteries require some sort of durable protective burial vault to make sure that the ground doesn’t cave in over time. That, or you can choose a cemetery that allows natural burial of biodegradable containers.
So you will need to meet at least one of these conditions:
- Cremation urn buried inside a durable, protective urn burial vault
- Cremation urn made from non-biodegradable materials (for instance, granite) that can serve as its own burial vault
- Biodegradable urn buried at a cemetery that allows it
Urn Burial Options & Considerations
Do you want the more traditional burial at a typical cemetery?
- You will be free to choose just about any urn you like
- Talk to the cemetery and ask about what they require
- Stone urns, such as granite, marble, onyx, etc, do not require an additional burial vault
- Other urn materials will biodegrade (e.g., wood) or can bend/break (e.g., metal, ceramic, glass) and will thus need to be place inside a burial vault
Do you want to go with the most affordable option?
- Choose a stone urn, as you will not need to purchase a separate burial vault
Do you want to go with the most eco-friendly option?
- Find a cemetery that allows natural burial. There are some cemeteries that are 100% eco-friendly; others have a section for natural burial or will permit it upon request; still others do not permit it at all. Each cemetery will have their own policy, so just ask.
- Get an eco-friendly burial urn; no vault will be needed
You’ll find lots more information about urn burial here. In that article, on our sister site Urns Northwest, we discuss how cremation urns are buried, including cemetery and private property burial (as in, burial at home). We also address questions regarding “green” cemeteries, how deep you should bury the urn, burial of ashes without an urn, and more.
Best Cremation Urns for Burial
All right! Here are our favorite urns for burial. Below, we have:
- Burial Urns (no additional vault needed)
- Natural Burial Urns (biodegradable urns for a “green” cemetery burial)
- Urn + Vault Options (urns that you’ll need to bury in a protective vault)
Please read each section heading and description carefully, and also confirm any info you read here with the cemetery of your choice before purchasing an urn. Remember, each cemetery or funeral home will have its own policies regarding what they will allow you to bury on their grounds.
Here’s the one principle that always applies: As a funeral consumer, by law you are free to purchase an urn or a vault anywhere you like. This means you do not have to buy one from the cemetery or funeral home; you are free to shop around.
Burial Urns (no additional vault needed)
In this first section, we feature urns you can simply bury. These cremation urns are made from non-biodegradable materials (typically granite, marble, or cultured marble; sometimes plastic) which will not decompose over time.
Tip: “Cultured” means man-made, from actual round-down granite or marble dust mixed with resin and formed in a mold. “Real” or “Authentic” means, well, real; as in, it’s made from an actual slab of marble or actual chunk of granite.
Both are durable, heavy, stately, attractive, and can be used in place of a burial vault. The “cultured” version will be more affordable, while the “authentic” stone urns are more expensive.
1. Cultured Granite Photo Cremation Urn
Granite is a timeless stone and makes wonderful cremation urn material. This cultured granite cremation urn features an engraved photo of your loved one along with other personalized details.
2. Cultured Granite Photo Companion Urn (for two)
A gorgeous companion urn constructed of polished black cultured granite. Remains may rest next to one another, in separate compartments, or together with a single opening.
3. Legacy Natural Marble Cremation Urn
The Gray Legacy Urn is everything elegant, modern, and reverent all in one cremation urn. This is a marble piece and naturally quarried for a unique memorial to your loved one.
4. Classic Cultured Marble Urn in Camo
This made-in-the-USA cremation urn is constructed of cultured marble. Personalization is optional and many sizes are available.
5. Classic Cultured Marble Urn in Berry
The Classic Cultured Marble Urn in Berry is simple and sweet. Again, laser-engraved personalization is optional, and various size options are available.
6. Viewpoint Natural Marble Urn (Green)
The Viewpoint Natural Marble Urn is a solid marble cremation urn that will last a lifetime. You can also personalize this urn.
7. Crest Natural Marble Burial Urn (Gray)
Perhaps the most spectacular urn featured on our list today. The Crest Natural Marble Cremation Urn is naturally quarried, hand-turned on a lathe and finally, polished to perfection.
8. Evermore Natural Marble Urn (Champagne)
This Evermore Square Marble Cremation Urn looks like an ancient work of art, but is actually made to order. Personalization is available.
Natural Burial Urns (for burial at a “green” cemetery)
These biodegradable urns are actually designed to take your loved one’s ashes back to the earth as naturally as possible.
Bear in mind that you can also bury the ashes directly into the ground, with no urn at all. This can be done on your own private property, or at a green cemetery (where allowed). But most families like to have a beautiful and respectful container in which to bury their loved one’s ashes.
The urns below are ideal for this purpose.
9. Memorial Tree Urns (to grow a tree from ashes)
Please note that these only hold 35 cubic inches of remains, which is approximately the equivalent of 35 lbs of pre-cremation body weight.
10. Journey Earthurn
A simple handmade paper urn ideal for water burial disposition. The Journey Earthurn Biodegradable Urn is totally “green” and made from the bark of mulberry trees.
11. Biodegradable Sand Urn
The lovely Biodegradable Oceane Burial Urn is for water or ground burial. Comes complete with a special “Footprints in the Sand” design as well as a biodegradable bag in which to secure the remains.
12. Himalayan Rock Salt Urn
An organic rock salt urn perfect for sea burial or other disposition by water. The Himalayan Rock Salt Cremation Urn is as practical as it is beautiful. It will generally float for a bit on the waves before finally sinking and dissolving completely.
13. Biodegradable Turtle Urn
A precious way to send your loved one off on their final journey. This Biodegradable Paper Turtle Water Burial Urn is made by hand from recycled paper. It will float gracefully for a time on the water, before sinking and eventually biodegrading.
14. Biodegradable Shell Urn
Another beautiful urn inspired by the fingerprints of God. Urns Northwest’s Biodegradable Shell Urn is for water scattering. This Grolleg paper clay urn will dissolve rapidly once placed in water.
15. Tribute Scattering Urn Tubes
While chiefly designed for scattering of ashes, the Tribute Scattering Urn Tubes are also fully biodegradable. This means that you can decide (now or later) whether you would like to scatter the ashes or simply bury in the ground using the biodegradable urn.
Either way, it’s an affordable and eco-friendly option for the final disposition of your loved one’s remains.
Urns that Require a Burial Vault
To give you the full picture, we’re going to include some beautiful urns that (typically) will need to be buried inside a protective burial vault.
Most urn vaults have limited space, so the best urns for burial in a vault will be a fairly typical size and shape. This is often a rectangle (for wood and metal urns) or a vase shape (for glass and ceramic urns).
16. Wood Inlay Art Urns
For something a little different yet just as beautiful as a traditional stone urn, consider a wood inlay art cremation urn. Laser cut pieces of wood, of varying tones and hues, come together to create beautiful nature scenes.
You can find the Soaring Eagle cremation urn you see in the photo above here.
17. Glass Art Urns
Hand-blown glass has always been an artistic endeavor. But hand-blown glass cremation urns? Even more so.
The process of glass-blowing makes for one-of-a-kind urns, each with their own distinct patterns and colors. Glass urns from Urns Northwest are made right here in the USA.
We call the stunning glass urn you see above the Amato Aegean; you can find it here.
18. Mother of Pearl Brass Urn
You will be astonished at the detail of our Mother of Pearl Brass Cremation Urn, which features an inlay of gorgeous mother of pearl pieces situated neatly within the brass underneath. GlossCoat technology is utilized for a shiny finishing touch.
19. Classic Hamilton Wood Urn
When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with a classic solid wood urn. Our Hamilton Solid Wood Cremation Urn is made to order in the USA. It is affordable yet the quality you would expect from Urns Northwest.
20. Handcrafted Ceramic Raku Urns
The Dragonfly Raku Cremation Urn is one of the more exquisite urns we feature on our list today.
What makes this ceramic urn so special is the fact that, although it’s made in the USA, it’s refined using the ancient Japanese firing process known as Raku. A dragonfly design graces the stone, and a glaze finish blankets the urn’s entire surface.
Vaults for Urn Burial
We’ve written extensively about urn burial vaults here, so if there is anything further you need to know you’ll find the answer there.
Rather than picturing our vaults here, it’s probably easiest to simply browse our vault collection.
Find More Urns for Burial
We invite you to explore more cremation urns for burial at our retail store on Urns Northwest.
Here are some places to visit for next steps:
- Our all-time best-selling urns that customers love
- If you need a burial vault for your urn, find one here
- For burial urns that don’t need a vault, browse our Stone Urns Collection
- Lastly, here are 13 helpful questions to ask when choosing a cemetery