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Burial vs Cremation: How to Choose Which is Best

Have you just lost a loved one and are overwhelmed thinking about whether burial or cremation is the right choice? You’re not alone, many wonder and fear about making the right decision. 

In this article, you’ll learn all about the pros and cons of each and can then decide which is the best option for your loved one. Read on to see a comparison of burial vs cremation. 

Burial vs Cremation 

When you’re doing a comparison of cremation vs burial, it’s important to understand the difference between the two and what exactly they are. When you have a body cremated the body is incinerated and turned into ashes. When you choose burial the body is still intact. 

If you decide to cremate you have various options such as being kept by loved ones, scattered, buried in the ground, along with many other options. If you choose burial, the body can either be placed in the ground or a mausoleum. 

Cremation is normally the more economic choice. 

When choosing which to go with they’re many factors to consider including what you feel your loved one would want. Many are concerned about choosing what’s the most respectful for the one they love, but it’s important to remember each culture and tradition is different. 

They’re several factors to consider. To decide which is best for you, learn more now. 

Environmental Concerns

Some out there are concerned about the environmental impact of burial and cremation. It’s still debated which is better and whether when a body is cremated it lets off a large number of pollutants. While others see burial as the worse choice for the environment without using biodegradable items. 

There’s an option now called eco-burials which means the coffins and embalming fluids are made of biodegradable and environmentally friendly items. If your loved one was environmentally friendly this might be the right option for them. 

Environmental Ways to Help 

If you decide to choose burial and the environment is important to you or your loved one, you can choose a wicker, cardboard, or biodegradable wood casket. They’re less expensive than conventional caskets and absorbed into the earth easier. 

Another option to consider is what’s called a shroud. This is a wrap that’s often made with handles. Embalming is also optional and not required by law unless they’re special circumstances such as a communicable disease. 

If you choose cremation, you can ask to see a provider’s use of mercury emissions and pollutant filters. You can also ask that they remove pacemakers, medical implants, or prosthetic limbs. 

If you choose to bury the ashes, choose a biodegradable urn. Promession is an option where the body is prepared similar to the body’s natural decomposition. 


If your loved one was a religious person, it’s important to keep their religion in mind when choosing burial vs cremation. The Catholic Church allows cremation now but not scattering the ashes. 

In Judaism, some believers don’t allow cremation while others do. Jewish teachings say not to cremate, but again it’s what’s best for your loved one.

Baptist, Eastern Orthodox, and some other Christian denominations don’t allow cremation. If they were Lutheran or Seventh Day Adventists, they permit cremation. 

Jehovah’s Witnesses encourage cremation and many Mormons choose it as well. 

Some religions require cremation such as the Buddhists and Hindus. The Sikhs prefer cremation over burial, but burial is allowed. Muslims don’t allow cremation. 

Cremation Statistics

Cremation is on the rise currently, with 48.6% of Americans choosing cremation over burial in 2015, and it’s expected to rise to 54.3 by 2020. Cremation is often less expensive than a burial, but with certain add-ons to services, it can wind up being more. 

Burial and Cremation Services 

If you choose to have a basic burial service it’ll have:

  • Transportation of the body to the funeral home 
  • Preparation of the body
  • Basic Service
  • Embalming
  • Car for transportation of different items like flowers
  • Staff for viewing and funeral
  • Hearse
  • Memorial print package

Additional burial services are:

  • Burial vault
  • Opening and closing fee
  • Casket
  • Headstone

On the other hand, cremation fees include:

  • Cremation
  • Urn
  • Casket rental

These prices are approximate and can vary. For a full breakdown of burial and cremation service fees check this out

Direct Cremation

If you’ve decided burial and cremation are unaffordable, don’t worry, direct cremation is an option. 

Direct cremation includes:

  • The body is cremated immediately after death
  • The body can be cremated in a cardboard container
  • No memorial service
  • No preparations of the body like embalming since there’s no service
  • No expenses from the funeral home

The cost of a direct cremation can range from $1,000 to $2,200

Pros and Cons of Cremation 

They’re pros and cons to burial and cremation, here are some pros of cremation:

  • Normally costs less than a burial 
  • Quicker
  • Normally considered more environmentally friendly
  • Takes up less land
  • It’s portable
  • More time to decide where you’d like the ashes

Some cons of cremation are:

  • It’s permanent so can’t be reversed
  • Sometimes harder for loved ones to mourn
  • Might be against a family member’s religion

Pros and Cons of Burial

Some benefits of burial are:

  • Considered more natural
  • Required by some religions
  • Location for family and friends to visit
  • The body can be exhumed
  • Might give some loved ones more closure

Some disadvantages of burial are:

  • Hard for distant loved ones to visit
  • More expensive than cremating
  • Considered less environmentally friendly by some

Next Steps

In this article, you learned about burial vs cremation, the pros and cons of each, and which is the right choice for your loved one. Take your time deciding and preferably plan in advance if possible to save time and energy.

Before you know it your worries will fade away and you’ll feel confident you’ve chosen the ideal choice for your loved one. 

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