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Choosing a coffin or casket for your loved ones funeral

Updated: Sep 7, 2023


In this blog we will be looking at the different types of coffin and caskets available for your loved one’s funeral. At Vines Funerals, we have an extensive range to choose from suitable for all styles and budget. We are able to supply coffins and caskets from a number of different suppliers, all manufactured to the highest quality and comply with crematorium and cemetery regulations. But first we need to answer the first question……………

What is the difference between a coffin or a casket?

The basic difference between a coffin and a casket is the shape. A coffin gets wider at the shoulders and then tapers thinner towards the feet. A casket is rectangular shape. Overall, a casket is bulkier and heavier than a coffin.

There are other differences too. Materials used for construction vary. Caskets are usually constructed from metal or wood, although some wicker coffins can be of a teardrop or square shape. Whereas coffins are more varied. Coffins can be constructed from many materials such as veneer or solid wood, cardboard, wicker, wool, bamboo etc.

Cost is another difference. Caskets in general are more expensive, some caskets can cost thousands of pounds whereas most coffins cost hundreds.

Furnishings and linings also contrast. Coffin handles are usually individual handles, intended as decoration or for attaching cords rather than to actually carry the coffin. A casket is usually furnished with a bar handle running the length of the side of the coffin, this is normally used when carrying or lifting the coffin. Coffin linings are usually silk or satin, subtle or pastel colours are usually provided. Casket linings are often more lavish, using padded or quilted linings. At Vines Funerals we always provide a suitable ornament for the coffin or casket such as a rose or religious symbol where possible and always ensure that your loved one is resting peacefully.

A casket for the deceased should not be confused with a cremated ashes casket, which is used for burial or storage of cremated remains.

What are the options for selecting a coffin or a casket?

On our website we have a wide range of coffins and caskets to choose from. You can see these options by clicking on our ‘online brochure’ located on the packages page under coffins and caskets.

If you are looking for a traditional style coffin for your loved one, this section talks about the options available.

Wood effect coffins

A standard coffin which is very popular and can be used for both burial and cremation are our wood effect coffins. Made using MDF or chipboard laminated with paper printed in a variety of wood effects. The coffins are constructed and polished to a high standard but cannot be hand finished like a veneer coffin.

These coffins can be plain and simple or can have either a raised lid or panelled sides. You also can have a choice of colours such as oak, mahogany, elm or limed oak. All our wood effect coffins come with a satin frill in a choice of colours. The interior can be upgraded to a coffin suite for an additional cost.

In our own personal opinion wood effect coffins are just as good as the standard veneered coffin in terms of colour and detail. They provide a dignified and respectful coffin for your loved one to rest in without having to spend a lot of money. Our most popular wood effect coffins are the Morpeth, Light oak effect coffin with matching moulds, The Longsdale Rosewood effect coffin with matching moulds & The Staffordshire Elm wood effect coffin with ‘Penshaw’ routered panel sides ends and raised lid.

Veneered coffins and Caskets

If you feel that a wood effect coffin is not the right choice for you and your loved one, you can go for a veneered coffin. Coffins manufactured using real wood. The wood veneer is laminated either onto chipboard or MDF. Machine cut and hand finished. All wood veneered coffins come with a frill with your choice of colour and they can either be plain or have a raised lid and panelled sides the same as our wood effect coffins. This type of coffin again is suitable for burial or cremation. The interior can be upgraded to a coffin suite for an additional cost.

The wood veneered coffins also come in a choice of colours the same as our wood effect coffins. Our most popular veneered coffins are the Newcastle Oak veneer style coffin with veneered matching moulds. The Jedburgh Mahogany style veneer coffin with double mould to the lid and a No 2 raised lid. Polished in medium mahogany & The Raby Oak style veneer coffin with deep routered ‘Penshaw’ panel sides, ends and raised lid.

Solid Wood Coffins and Caskets

If you would like a more traditional crafted coffin with finer detail for your loved one then our Solid Wood Coffins may be the right choice for you. Most of our coffins come in Oak, Redwood or Mahogany colours, a frill in your choice of colour, with the standard 6 handles and wreath holders. This type of coffin is suitable for burial or cremation but mostly chosen for burial.

Most of our Traditionally crafted solid oak coffins feature deep panels to the sides and ends with high raised lids and are polished to a rich gloss finish. A plainer option is also available. Our Barnard Traditionally crafted solid oak coffin features deep panels to the sides and ends. The Barnard has a high raised lid and is polished to a rich gloss finish. The Barnard can be fitted with handles suitable for either cremation or for burial. Butt joint ends pictured.

Our Grampian coffin Exquisitely crafted, semi solid redwood timber coffin made from sapele, or similar FSC certified wood. The Grampian has shaped feature panels to the sides and ends, a high raised lid and a rich gloss finish. The Grampian can be fitted with handles suitable for either cremation or for burial.

Requiem Coffins

One section of coffins in our brochure that really stands out is our requiem range.

A selection of wood coffins created to incorporate religious symbols, themes and Christian iconography. The Requiem range draws upon traditional English, Irish and Italian designs, and utilises a broad selection of solid woods and veneers to create varying finishes. There are different levels of complexity to the coffin ornamentation, all of which are made with the highest of standards.

Mainly suitable for burial, these coffins feature an image of the last supper or the head of Christ or Mary. These coffins come in a light or dark wood and are polished to a high finish, with either a raised lid or panelled sides and 4 handles. All coffins are complimented with a beautiful satin interior.

Last Supper Coffin

The Vatican A solid wood coffin, carefully carved with a striking ‘Last Supper’ feature panel to the sides. Polished to a high gloss finish. Solid brass handles are available or electro brass plastic suitable for cremation. Fitted with a beautiful satin interior.

Religious Coffin

Trinity Head of Christ. A solid oak coffin with the ‘Head of Christ’ detail found on the side panels. The Trinity comes with a shaped raised lid and is carefully fitted with matching wood bar handles. The coffin is finished with a rich a satin interior in a choice of colours.

Can I personalise a coffin?

If you are looking for a more personalised coffin that reflects the life of your loved one, that moves away from the traditional style of coffin or casket, then the options in this section may be the right choices for you.

Expressions Range & Colourful Coffins

Did your loved one have a favourite colour, sport or hobby?

Do you have an image or word that you like engraved on a coffin?

If the answer is yes to either of these questions, have you considered a coffin from the expressions or colourful coffins range?

Glitter Coffin

With our expressions range, it is now possible to have a veneer coffin sprayed in a colour of your choice or even have a coffin covered entirely in glitter. If you can’t decide, you can even have a mix of the two. Our sensational full glitter coffins offer one last chance to sparkle. The coffins are made from MDF covered with diamond glitter paper.

Personalised Coffin

If a completely blue, pink or white coffin is not the right choice for you, you can still have a word engraved on the side of the coffin or even a special image printed on the side.

Colourful Coffin

If your loved one was a sports fan, had a favourite football team, favourite character, have a favourite place they visited, a favourite hobby, a favourite vehicle or anything else that meant a lot to them or you as a family. Our colourful coffins can now capture this image in the coffin.

All our colourful coffins and those from the expressions range can also be accompanied by a matching cremated remains casket.

Environmental coffins

Over the years, we have seen an increase in more environmentally friendly coffins and caskets being chosen for a loved one’s funeral.

Our Natural range is the perfect choice for you if you believe in caring for the environment and want this to be reflected in the funeral of your loved one.

Cardboard Coffin

Our range includes cardboard coffins, these high-quality coffins are manufactured from corrugated cardboard, which is strong and sturdy while remaining lightweight and easy to manage. They have been developed for consumers wishing to have an alternative to the traditional wooden coffin styles. Suitable for both burial or cremation and come in a choice of white, brown, green or wood effect colours.

Our country range offers a selection of coffins which are used using sustainable materials, are readily biodegradable and are suitable for all types of natural or traditional burials. They have also been tested for the suitability and are accepted for cremation. The range of products has a low carbon footprint and offers a social and ethical benefit.

Wicker Coffin

Our Eco coffins come in either a traditional coffin shape, square shape or round shape (teardrop) in a choice of colours and material. The inside is complimented by a natural linen lining. The Banana Leaf, a square coffin shape and created with a strong inner wooden frame with a hand woven Banana Leaf outer shell. Comes with a natural unbleached calico lining.

Wool Coffin

Natural Legacy is a range of woollen coffins and caskets which offer a comforting and soft alternative to the traditional wood coffin. Gentle on the eye and soft to the touch Natural Legacy coffins and ashes caskets are loved by families for the less severe and more personalised goodbye that they allow. Natural Legacy offers a contemporary style with comfortable handling.

Each coffin or ashes casket is completed with a personalised hand embroidered woollen name plate

Cremated remains caskets and urns made from environmentally friendly materials are also available.

Metal and Wooden Caskets

The Guardian® range encompasses a wide variety of styles, including traditional English caskets with delicate designs and high quality ‘American style’ metal caskets. Some have memory record systems and all are made to exacting standards.

You will find the perfect choice that honours the memory of your loved one, safe in the knowledge that each casket is created with exceptional craftsmanship and attention to detail

We are proud to offer an extensive line of finely-crafted solid hardwood and veneer caskets, exploring the world to find superb-quality wood species to satisfy all. By taking advantage of global sourcing to find premium lumber, we can offer our customers remarkably beautiful products that appeal to the eye as well as the touch.

Our Solid wood caskets come in a range of colours complimented with a beautiful interior and either a bar or 6 brass effect handles.


Madison A solid paulownia wood casket with a stylish satin walnut finish, the Madison comes with matching wood bar handles and is fitted with a delicate rosetan crepe interior.


Ripon A solid oak casket with decorative panels to the sides, feature corner pillars and a swing raised lid

Our range of exceptional quality metal ‘American Style’ caskets, offering a distinctive and elegant feel to any funeral arrangement. This range comes in various colours and finishes including bronze, copper, classic gold and white. These caskets are suitable for burial only. All our metal caskets come with a bar handle and complimented with a beautiful and luxurious interior.

Metal Casket

Neptune Silver A 20-gauge steel casket in stellar silver, the stunning Neptune Silver is fitted with matching fixed bar handles and supports and is fitted with a luxurious white crepe interior.

American Casket

Indigo An 18-gauge steel casket in indigo silver, the impressive Indigo has contrasting bar handles and supports and is fitted with a white velvet interior.

So which type of coffin or casket is the right one to choose for my loved one’s funeral?

The short answer to this question, is there isn’t a right answer. It all comes down to your own personal choice and how much you are looking to spend on your loved one’s coffin. It is also important to remember that you don’t always have to have an expensive coffin for your loved one to rest in peace and dignity, most families have a plain standard but respectful coffin for a cremation and some families pay a little more if you have organised a burial, but again it is your choice.

It is very important to remember that each crematorium has a maximum size of the coffin or casket that they allow. So, some coffins or caskets may not be suitable or allowed for a cremation due to the dimensions or materials used.

If you are having a coffin spray floral tribute on top of the coffin, then something where the lid is flat or raised is always the best option. It is best to avoid metal style caskets in this case.

Another useful tip and sometimes a good idea is instead of paying for an expensive coffin, choose to have an upgraded interior on a standard coffin.

If you would like to discuss more about coffins and caskets, at Vines Funerals, 70 Summerhill Road, Coseley, Bilston, West Midlands, WV14 8RE, 01902 494778, we are always happy to provide guidance on what is available, what is allowed, and what type of costs will be involved.

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