Phone (24 hours) 0117 956 4796

What is The Difference Between a Coffin and a Casket?

Contact Us

Choosing what your loved one will be laid to rest in is an important decision. Most people commonly select a coffin or casket. But, while these terms are often used interchangeably, they have a few variations in meaning.

red rose flower on wooden coffin in church

So, what is the difference between a coffin and a casket? Let’s take a look…

What is the difference between a coffin and a casket?


In the UK, many people choose a coffin to hold the deceased. This specially designed box has six sides. The top is wider than the bottom section, and they are typically made from wood. However, coffins are available in different materials depending on your preference and budget.

Another aspect that differs from a casket is that a coffin doesn’t usually have handles on the side. If there are handles, they are typically only for decoration, as the pallbearers hold the coffin on their shoulders and support it with their hands.

Additionally, inside a coffin, the deceased is laid within silk or satin material, which is in a neutral or muted colour such as cream, beige or a pastel shade.


The term casket is primarily used in the USA. The main difference between a coffin and a casket is the shape. A casket is a traditional rectangle box with handles at the side so it can be carried at the funeral service.

Before a funeral, the casket is used for viewing the deceased. It is then lowered into the ground if a burial is chosen. However, the casket is not often buried if the deceased is being cremated. A casket may also be used at the wake.

There are some instances where the cremation takes place, and the urn is placed into the casket, and they are buried together. There’s also the option of a cremated ashes casket. This is different from a burial casket as it is purely used for the burial or storage of the deceased’s ashes.

The cost of a casket is another aspect that differs from a coffin. Due to the size and shape, more wood is needed to create this style of box. This makes a casket typically more expensive than a coffin.

Caskets are made out of high-quality wood such as oak, mahogany and walnut. Some are also made from metal. The construction makes them heavier and more costly than a coffin. The lining of a casket is also different to a coffin. The materials used are more extravagant or luxurious and sometimes include padding or quilted fabric.

Read more: Direct Cremation or Traditional Cremation – What is the Difference?

Choosing a coffin or a casket

The above information covers a common question – what is the difference between a coffin and a casket? Overall, there are key variations in the design, style and cost of a coffin or a casket. However, in the UK, you will typically have a choice of coffin designs suited to your budget and preferences. Likewise, the cost of a coffin varies depending on the material and any special requests. However, your Bristol funeral directors will guide you through the choices to help you select the best option for the deceased.

If you need further advice on whether a coffin or casket is suitable for your loved one, contact our Bristol funeral home today. Our experienced team is happy to help you with advice and guidance on appropriate options.

Related FAQs