Caskets are a big, expensive end-of-life purchase, but there are ways to cut the cost without sacrificing quality.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some alternatives to buying a casket from a funeral home, including Costco caskets, Walmart caskets and Amazon caskets.
What You Need to Know About Shopping for a Casket
The noted American satirist Ambrose Bierce once defined a funeral as “a pageant whereby we attest our respect for the dead by enriching the undertaker.”
Though Bierce’s words were written in the 19th century, not much has changed in the 21st. Dying is still just as expensive as ever — perhaps even more so now that the funeral industry has grown and consolidated to reduce competition.
The Federal Trade Commission notes the average casket costs slightly north of $2,000. However, some mahogany, bronze or copper caskets can sell for as much as $10,000.
But there are much cheaper options out there if you’re willing to think outside of the pine box…
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Turns out the warehouse club where you buy just about everything for life has something for the afterlife, too!
So how much do Costco caskets cost? Pricing starts at $899 and goes up to $1,799.
A few of the models priced on the lower end of the scale get the most positive reviews from Costco customers.
- The Mother Casket by Universal – $999.99
- In God’s Care Casket by Universal – $999.99
- The President Casket by Prime – $899.99
Check them out for yourself here.
Finally, one of the nice things about buying Costco caskets is that shipping is included in the price, so there are no additional shipping charges.
As you might expect, the nation’s largest retailer has a slightly wider selection of caskets available online than Costco does.
Walmart’s lineup of 15 or so caskets starts at $1,109 and mostly stays within the $1,500 range. Many of the models are priced right at $1,200. There’s only one solid mahogany selection that tops $2,400.
Unfortunately, there’s much less in the way of customer reviews of caskets on Walmart.com than there is on the Costco website.
The sole Walmart casket to get a review — an 18-gauge metal casket by Overnight Caskets called Briar Rose Lilac — received four stars from an anonymous Walmart customer.
While pickup is free on all Walmart caskets, you’ll pay a flat freight handling fee of $49.97 to have it delivered to a funeral home.
Yes, Amazon has caskets…and at least one model is available for free two-day delivery for Prime members.
Amazon caskets start at $899 and there are several options available in the $1,200 price range.
You can even get a simple biodegradable pine box for $500 with free shipping on Amazon, which is by far the cheapest option we found.
The nice thing about shopping on Amazon — in addition to the free shipping — is that customers actually leave lengthier reviews so you can read what verified purchasers had to say about the caskets.
That in itself is a good feature and should help put your mind at ease when you’re making this delicate decision.
Here’s a look at a few reviews for the Titan Casket – Orion White Steel Casket with White Interior. Ninety percent of customers gave this casket either four or five stars.
- “The casket was delivered earlier than expected. We are totally satisfied and thankful that we saved over $2,600 dollars.” – Amazon Customer – Verified Purchase
- “I am so thankful to the AMAZING team of customer service personnel at Amazon who worked for two days to make sure the casket was delivered in time for my mom’s funeral. During such an overwhelming time of grief, you want to know that everything is taken care of — and it certainly was! I would recommend this product to anyone, every time!” – Heather Norris – Verified Purchase
- “We are very pleased!! Our funeral home is charging more then double. Great price and delivered in three days.” – Amazon Customer – Verified Purchase
It might seem unusual to buy a casket online from Amazon, through a warehouse club like Costco or from a big-box retailer like Walmart. But you stand to save a lot of money if you can flex in your thinking on this issue.
The best thing to do is to have a pre-need discussion with your loved ones — whether the casket is for you or for someone else.
Let them know your preference if you want to purchase a cheaper casket away from the funeral home. Having this discussion now could help avoid difficult and costly decisions down the road.