Finding the right crematorium

4 min read

Things to consider when choosing a crematorium

  • The least expensive option is direct cremation, in which you work directly with the crematorium. There is no embalming and no need for a casket.

  • Research options thoroughly online when considering direct cremation, and seek out any personal recommendations.

  • Many people choose to let the funeral home take care of cremation for them. Make sure you get prices up front.

  • Choosing this option allows you to have any kind of memorial you want, at any time.

If you, your family, or your loved one have decided on cremation, you will be looking for a facility that suits your needs. In recent years, cremation has become increasingly popular, and there are now thousands of cremation service options. Navigating among the many choices can feel like a daunting task, especially as it’s an area where most of us don’t have much experience. 

Selecting a cremation facility is a time-sensitive matter, and you’re almost certainly making this choice at an incredibly emotional moment. But clearly outlining your wants, needs, and expectations can help narrow down your options so you can find a service that’s the right fit for you and your family. 

Using a funeral home

Many families choose to let a funeral home make all the arrangements for them. The funeral director will then oversee all the details of the cremation process. A typical funeral home will offer cremation services as well as memorialization. This sort of full-service option can be a relief, especially in these earliest stages of the grieving process. 

If the funeral home does not have cremation resources on site, they usually contract out with a local facility. If your funeral home uses an outside provider, you or someone close to you should review the fees to ensure that you know what you’re paying for. 

As you price out options and figure out your budget, it can be important to know that a federal law called the Funeral Rule requires funeral homes to provide prices for all services, including cremation, upon a request made by telephone or in person. However, the rule does not apply to online pricing, so make sure to call or visit to get an estimate for the services you choose. As you narrow down your list of potential funeral homes, calling or visiting can also give you a better sense of the people who work there and the opportunity to ask any questions you may have. 

A funeral home can provide a wide variety of additional services. Either before or after the cremation, they can organize and facilitate anything from a simple memorial to more formal rituals or faith-based traditions. How much or how little you do is entirely up to you and your family.

Consider direct cremation

Many people are drawn to cremation simply because it is far less expensive than a traditional burial. If you are looking for the most affordable option possible, you may want to choose  direct cremation. A direct cremation means you work directly with the crematorium rather than a funeral home. Although rates vary by location, you can reasonably expect to pay from $800 to $1,200. 

If you are looking for the most affordable option possible, you may want to choose  direct cremation.

Standard direct cremation services typically include pickup and transportation of the body, the completion of any necessary paperwork, like a death certificate, the actual cremation process, and returning the ashes to the family. It does not include a formal funeral service, or any pre-funeral events like a viewing, visitation or wake, so there is no need for embalming. The body is usually cremated in a simple container, so you do not need to purchase a casket. Once it is done, you have more time and flexibility to make decisions about any services, memorials or choosing a final resting place.   

Researching cremation facilities

When researching a service they need, many people turn to the internet first, and cremation services are no exception. If your search results lead you to a facility’s website, there are certain things you can look for to decide if it is a good fit. Is the information on the site current and well-organized? Are there any online reviews available for you to check out? If you feel drawn to a particular place but find some negative online reviews, you can contact the Better Business Bureau or the Attorney General’s office to see if any formal complaints have been filed against them. 

As helpful as online research can be, some of the best recommendations can come by word of mouth. Friends, family, religious leaders, or other funeral providers may be able to point you in the right direction and give the kind of personal insight about a facility that you just can’t get any other way. 

It can be difficult to be clear-headed and rational as you deal with this chapter of your life, but the advice and support of people who you love and trust, especially those who have dealt with this before, can be an immense source of comfort as you start the process of dealing with your loss.

You may be eligible for free bereavement support. Empathy can help with everything from funeral planning to estate administration, with step-by-step guidance and real-time expert support. Many people get free premium access to Empathy as a benefit with their life insurance claim. We partner with New York Life, Guardian Life Insurance Company, Bestow, Lemonade, and other leading carriers. When you make your life insurance claim, talk to your representative about whether Empathy is a benefit they offer.