What size urn do I need for human ashes?

Willow Casket

One of the most frequent questions for the Tributes team is “What size urn do I need”. The answer depends on a number of factors including the amount of ashes involved, whether they are being shared among family members and your personal tastes. We are always happy to offer guidance to help you find the most suitable urn. 


Collecting ashes 

After the cremation process, ashes are collected by the funeral director on your behalf. If ashes are being scattered on site, perhaps in a garden of remembrance, you can choose to be present or for the crematorium team to do this for you. 

If ashes are to be placed in an urn then this is something your funeral director can arrange for you. If you wish to handle this process yourself, you can still seek guidance from your funeral director if needed. 

What is meant by “standard ashes return”? 

The crematorium will usually store ashes in a simple plastic or cardboard container, which is included in the standard service they offer. These items are what’s known as a ‘standard return’. You can choose to upgrade to an urn, casket or keepsake or, if the ashes are being scattered, opt for something else such as a decorative scatter tube which is a popular choice. These can all be arranged on your behalf by your funeral director. 

Choosing an urn 

When choosing an urn there are a number of things to consider including the capacity of the urn, if you’re wanting to split ashes among family members or whether you’d prefer to combine ashes with those of another loved one. It’s also important that you consider your own personal choice. Today there are a large variety of urns, all available in different styles to suit different tastes. 

How do I calculate the volume of the ashes?  

The average amount of ashes left after cremation for an adult is between 3-3.5 litres (3,000cc-3,500cc) and for children is 0.8-2 litres (800cc-2,000cc). However, given everyone is unique and different in size, the general rule for calculating is 1 stone in body weight = 250ml of ash. If you already have the ashes, you can measure the weight and convert into litres using an online calculator. You can also ask your funeral director for guidance on this.  

All our product pages feature information on the capacity of each of our urns. Each urn is measured in ‘cc’ (cubic centimetres); 1 litre = 1000 cubic centimetres. 

Can I keep more than one person’s ashes together? 

Yes, you can keep more than one person’s ashes in the same urn. This is known as “commingling”, where more than one person’s ashes are mixed. It’s important to remember to look for a larger urn to accommodate this if this is something you wish to do. 

Do I have to keep the ashes in one urn? 

No, some families like to share the ashes of a loved one between relatives. Keepsakes are a popular choice; they are smaller and more discreet for keeping a tiny quantity of ashes in. Equally, ashes can be kept in a smaller urn or casket. 

Your choice 

The most important factor to consider is your personal taste. As long as the urn has the correct capacity, it’s your decision on which option best reflects the personality of your loved one. There are many choices open to you and your funeral director is usually best placed to help you make your decision.  

Suggested reading

Can I keep my loved one’s ashes at home?
What is a keepsake urn?
Can I put ashes in my garden?

After adding this item to your basket you will be redirected to personalise the included accessory.

You have chosen a product that can be personalised. Would you like to personalise it now?

Personalise now