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What Is the Difference Between a Coffin and a Casket?

by Kirk Fox

Selecting a coffin or casket is an important choice to make in regard to funeral planning. The difference between a coffin and casket is in the design.

A coffin is a hexagon-shaped box meant to reflect the shape of the human body, and is tapered at the head and foot and wider at the shoulders. Traditionally, the coffin was the only box offered for a funeral. Though it has fallen out of fashion somewhat (in part because of a belief that the body-shaped box too morose for family members), the coffin is still a viable option today.

A casket is rectangular and usually built with a greater emphasis on the quality of workmanship. Thought to be a more comforting shape for mourners, caskets were first used to store jewelry.


Types of Coffins and Caskets:


The traditional coffin or casket comes in many different wood finishes including natural, cedar, maple, rosewood, and mahogany.


These come in a variety of colors, including blue, red, purple, silver, green, and yellow. Steel and other sustainable materials are modern, eco-friendly options for caskets and coffins.

Coffin and Casket Interiors

The interior of a coffin or casket may be upgraded with a mattress, pillow, sheets, and/or quilt. There are various tiers of quality and pricing for these items.

Modern Designs

Some funeral homes offer modern versions of coffins and caskets that feature unique designs on the outside such as flowers, doves, hearts, butterflies, or even candy. Sunsets, mountains, oceans, instruments, various sports team logos, and other designs can also be incorporated as a tribute to the deceased.

Custom Design

Another unique option offered is to personalize the coffin with images of your loved one. Photos of family members, friends, and events can be added to tell the person’s life story.

Want to ensure your final wishes are carried out? Consider funeral pre-planning.


Related to Funeral Planning:

How (and Why) to Pre-Plan a Funeral

How Much Does the Average Funeral Cost?

Burial vs. Cremation: Which Is Best for Your Family?

How to Find the Best Insurance Policy to Cover Funeral Expenses

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