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Choosing the right coffin: types, prices and materials

9 April 2024

Choosing the right coffin will depend on various factors such as the material used to make it and a price that the family can afford. At Áltima we are here to help you to make a decision based on the types of coffin available.

Types of coffins

Nowadays there are a number of types of coffin based on the material they are made from. What are the characteristics of the most common types of coffin?

Wooden coffins

A wooden coffin is the most common kind of coffin available. Its quality, however, will depend on the type of wood used. The most common types of wooden coffins are:

  • Chipboard veneered.

  • Poplar wood.

  • Cedar wood.

  • Pine wood.

  • Oak wood.

Other special woods, such as walnut, cherry or beech, can also be used. They are usually lined and padded on the inside.

Metal coffins

In certain situations, metal coffins may be a better option, as they are waterproof. They are usually smaller sized coffins but there are a variety of different types available including ones made from bronze or copper.

Sustainable coffins

The use of sustainable coffins is becoming more and more common. These are biodegradable containers that are mainly used at ecological funerals, where there is a greater connection with nature.

Again, there are many options available including bamboo, cardboard or fabric.

Other materials used

In addition to the usual materials, there are also other types of coffins made with less common types of material such as fibreglass, a very light material with different finishing options.


When talking about types of coffins and prices, it should be noted that the material is not the only factor that has an impact on the budget. The size, finish, interior lining, and so forth are other elements that must also be considered. Here are some helpful things to consider about the different types of coffins available:

  • Wood. The type of wood directly influences the price of the coffin. In addition to veneered chipboard, pine is the cheapest, while oak, walnut and cherry are the most expensive.

  • Metal. The price of metal coffins is usually calculated according to the gauge (thickness), except for bronze and copper coffins. However, in all cases, these types of coffin are more expensive the heavier they are.

  • Ecological. The cost of this type of coffin also depends on the materials used, but one of its advantages is that, since it is not varnished or decorated, the cost can be lower, provided that more expensive woods are not chosen.

Tips for achieving an affordable budget

We have already seen how prices can vary depending on the type of coffin, so this should be a primary consideration when making your choice. However, other factors should also be considered when considering your budget.

  • Pre-planning means that the costs are already covered, so family members don't have to deal with them later. It means that you are the one who chooses what you want based on your financial situation and preferences.

  • Remember that it is not only the type of coffin that influences the price, but also other added details such as floral decorations, the finish and the inner lining, for example. Consider that the greater the level of personalisation, the easier it will be for you to choose what you want and what you don't want.

  • Added services are also an expense, so it is possible you may have to reduce the coffin budget in order to be able to meet the other associated costs.

  • Choose the funeral company carefully. It is best to have a customised quotation, where your needs are being listened to. It should also be noted that the level of quality provided is not the same with every company.

Considerations when choosing a coffin

It is essential to know what types of coffin there are and the factors that can affect the final price in order to make the best decision. Although it is important to make the right choice in order to fulfil the wishes of the deceased, other aspects also play a role in this decision.

Size and dimensions

In addition to the material, the size of the coffin is a key factor. Bear in mind that the physique of people can vary greatly.

It is normal to opt for standard sizes, but, in certain cases, it may be necessary to customise, either to a larger or smaller size.

Larger coffins will be more expensive, especially if they require special transport. Therefore, when choosing between different types of coffin, also consider the height and weight of the deceased.

Styles and design

The design of the different types of coffin can also vary. Some are very simple whilst others are more elaborately decorated. The choice depends on your budget, but also on your taste.

There are coffin styles suitable for all kinds of tastes and preferences. Therefore, when making a decision, it is advisable to take into account the general aesthetics of the funeral, the preferences of the deceased and their family, the level of ornamentation required and the budget.

It is best to compare all available options, taking into account the family's needs, preferences and funeral budget. Out of all the types of coffin available, the best one will be the one that achieves the best balance between all the factors mentioned.