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A Beginner’s Guide to Cremation Urns

Help with cremation urns

Shopping for a cremation urn is a a very meaningful and personal process, yet it involves plenty of unfamiliar options, products, and terms. Here is our Beginner’s Guide to Cremation Urns, to help walk you through the available options for honoring your loved one with a cremation urn which is perfectly suited to their memory. Continue reading A Beginner’s Guide to Cremation Urns

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What Size Urn Do I Need? Urn Sizes and Standards

How Many Cubic Inches?

The amount of ashes, or “cremains”, that each urn holds is measured in cubic inches. The industry standard is approximately 1 pound of healthy weight to 1 cubic inch of cremains; that is, a 180lb person will require roughly 180 cubic inches.

Most adult cremation urns will hold 200 cubic inches at a minimum, and some hold more. We list the cubic inches that each urn will hold in the product description for each of our products.

For a larger individual, the measurements can be a little tricky. The “cremains” are composed of the bone matter that remains after the cremation process. This means that regardless of a person’s actual weight, the cremains should be around the same amount as the average person of the same height.

Here is a handy chart to help you figure weight based on height.

Of course, there are variations in bone density and structure, so for a larger individual, it is wise to err on the side of more cubic inches. Often, families will choose a companion urn, which usually hold 400 cubic inches.

Companion Urns

Some couples choose a companion urn as a way to signify their inseparability. These urns typically will hold 400 or more cubic inches, and can often be made with or without separate compartments inside. If a divider is chosen, then both sides will be roughly 200 cubic inches. Again, be sure to see the dimensions on each product page, and use the same calculations as above to determine if the urn will be suitable.

Keepsake Urns

Keepsakes urns vary widely in size; some hold as little as 1 cubic inch of cremains, while others hold up to 100 cubic inches. Choose your keepsake urn carefully depending on its inteded usage. If you would like to divide the cremains among several relatives, it is usually best to get several 50+ cubic inch keepsake urns.

What If I’m Still Unsure?

If you’re still not sure how to figure out what type of funeral urn you need, or if a particular urn will be suitable, please contact us and we’ll be happy to assist you. Keep in mind that quite a few of our urns can be customized to suit your needs!

Kilograms = Cubic Inches

Pounds= Cubic Inches

If you have the cremains already, the calculation is approximately 14.44 cubic inches per cup
Cups of cremains = Cubic Inches
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Cremation Urn Sizes

Choosing the size of cremation urn needed is determined by the interior capacity of the urn. There are a few typical sizes such as an adult urn, companion urn, child urn or keepsake. They each have an industry standard of 1 pound of healthy weight to 1 cubic inch of cremains.  This calculation is not an exact measurement, but more of a suggestion. Typically an adult urn will be around 200 cubic inches and will accommodate the cremains of most adults.

Adult size urn
Adult Urn size


However, this can very if someone was rather tall in which the skeletal structure of the person is greater than average. The process of cremation leaves an ash that is coarse and made up of bone.  These cremains are placed into a plastic bag in order to keep it contained. If you believe that the deceased may need a larger urn talk to the crematorium about the size you will need. 

Lovebird Companion urn
Doves Companion Urn

Companion urns are typically around 400 cubic inches and some are divided on the interior. Again, using the same calculations as above to determine the need, however, if the urn is not divided it will allow more flexibility if one person was large and the other was not. 

Child Urn
Child Urn


Child urns have 2 categories: child and infant. An infant urn will be smaller and in some cases you can use a keepsake as well. An infant urn needs to only be about 10 cubic inches but a child urn can vary for needs, but again using the calculation of 1 pound per cubic inch you can determine the size needed before purchasing a cremation urn.

Garden walk keepsake urn
Keepsake Memorial Urn


Keepsake urns will vary considerably since a keepsake doesn’t have a set size to conform to. The keepsake capacity will be  determined by the desired function. Some desire to keep a small amount of ash in a piece of jewelry, which is typically only a pinch. Other keepsakes are miniature versions of adult urns which will hold between 1 to 50 cubic inches. 

When choosing an urn always double check the capacity of the urn before purchasing, this will save you time, money and frustration by not having to purchase a second urn.