Coffin vs. Casket: Common Differences Between the Two

You may have recently heard the terms coffin and casket being used interchangeably to refer to the kind of funerary container you purchase when preplanning your funeral arrangements. 

What people don’t quite understand is that although they serve the same purpose, a coffin and a casket are two different things and it shows in their appearances, materials, and ceremonial significance for the deceased’s body. 

Read on if you’re interested in finding out more about the differences between a coffin vs casket as you look for a suitable option from Titan Casket.

What Is a Coffin?

The word coffin comes from a Proto-Germanic term for the special box. It is a container for a dead body, generally made of wood and lined with various materials, such as silk or satin. It can be rectangular or square and either solid or constructed from caskets (hollow). 

What Is a Casket?

A casket is a container for human remains. It may serve as a protective enclosure or receptacle for a coffin. It refers to an outer shell of some sort, usually wood, but sometimes metal or fabric that encloses and protects caskets in various ways. 

The term casket can also refer to these containers regardless of whether they house human remains. For example, you might find jewelry stored in a casket-like box at home. In that case, it would be incorrect to call it a coffin. However, if you were using it to store jewelry containing human remains (such as cremated ashes), it would technically be correct to call it a coffin since you would be referring specifically to its use rather than its design.

What Are the Main Differences Between a Coffin and a Casket?

A coffin is usually used during burial, while a casket is placed in a viewing room for guests to pay their respects before burial or cremation. 

A coffin takes a rectangular shape while a casket’s end is rounded to look like a cradle or chest. These shapes do not affect how it is used after death, but they indicate what type of cemetery or funeral home you need to contact for your burial needs and services.

A casket is generally made of wood, while a coffin is typically metal or hardwood. The construction material doesn’t affect how they are used after death, but it can affect burial costs depending on your location and wishes for interment.

Another significant difference is that caskets are often more expensive than coffins because they can be made from finer materials like hardwood. 

It’s important to note that funeral homes will label a wooden casket as a casket and a metal one as a coffin, regardless of shape or construction material, for marketing purposes. In other words, funeral home staff may use these terms interchangeably based on price range and appearance—not construction type. 

The Bottom Line

As you can see, there are plenty of factors that set coffins apart from caskets. While these differences may affect which option you choose, it’s important to note that these are funerary vessels used to contain and transport bodies from place to place during ceremonies surrounding death and burial.

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