Cremation Vs Burial: What’s The Difference?

When a loved one dies, it can be difficult to know what to do next. One of the first decisions you will have to make is whether to cremate or bury the body. This can be a tough choice, and there are pros and cons to both options. Here are some key things to know about cremation and burial so you can choose the right one for your needs.

What is the difference between cremation and burial?

With cremation, the body and casket are burned and then the ashes are returned to the family. The family can then keep the ashes in an urn, bury them, scatter them or do something more creative.

With a burial, the body is placed in a casket and buried in the ground or in a crypt. This is often a more expensive option, as you will need to purchase the burial plot.

Here are some of the key things to consider about burial versus cremation:

Cremation is cheaper than burial

For individuals and family members looking for affordable funeral options, cremation is a much more cost-effective alternative than a traditional burial. Although there are some additional fees associated with cremation services; such as the urn and any memorial items that may be associated with it, the overall cost still remains substantially lower than burying a body.

In today's economic climate, finding ways to make end-of-life costs manageable can often provide relief to grieving individuals trying to honour their loved ones without breaking their budgets. It's important to investigate all options in order to ensure that funds are being used efficiently and respectfully towards fulfilling one's final wishes for a beloved family member or friend.

Cremation is faster than burial

The death of a loved one can be an emotionally charged experience, so for family and friends who are going through the grieving process, it’s understandable that they would want to find a way to lay their loved one to rest as quickly as possible.

Although there has traditionally been some debate about which option is better – burial or cremation – when it comes to speed, cremation definitely wins. With cremation, the body can be processed within a matter of hours whereas, with burial, the waiting period is usually much longer.

The entire process can end up being much more cumbersome and time-consuming than necessary, making cremation the superior choice for those looking for a fast resolution.


With cremation, you can have a funeral service before or after the cremation process

Cremation can provide a grieving family with a comforting alternative to traditional burial services. Depending on their wishes and beliefs, cremation gives families the option of holding a funeral service before or after the actual cremation process takes place.

Special ceremonies to honour the deceased can be held either way and serve as a meaningful way for families to come together and grieve in the midst of their sorrow and loss. Cremation allows people to honour the deceased in whatever way feels right for them, which can be incredibly important in times of immense grief.

You don’t have to keep the ashes

Losing a loved one can be a heartbreaking experience, and the thought of having to then decide what to do with the ashes can add a heavy burden to an already difficult time. Cremation gives you time to decide the best option for your loved one’s final resting place.

You may choose to scatter the ashes in a place meaningful to them, as a way of honouring their life and providing them with a special place where they will be remembered. An urn is also an option, which can provide comfort and closure by allowing family members to have something tangible that connects them to their departed loved one.

Whatever you decide, make sure it feels right to you and lets you pay tribute to your beloved in your own unique way.

You can have a viewing before a burial

If you choose to have a viewing, you will need to opt for embalming. Choosing to have a loved one embalmed can provide a sense of closure after a difficult loss. Not only does it allow family and friends to pay their respects in an intimate, traditional fashion, but also provides solace by allowing them the opportunity to spend time with the deceased before saying goodbye forever.

Embalming can also be beneficial as it gives families time for planning funeral services and helps to retain the deceased’s colour and prevents the natural decaying process, often reflecting how they were in life and not just in death. Though the process of embalming is lengthy, permanent, and expensive, it may ultimately give a family emotional peace during their time of sadness.


Losing a loved one is never easy, but knowing about your end-of-life options can help you make the best decision for your wallet and your timeline. Cremation is cheaper and faster than burial, and gives you more flexibility in how and when you hold a funeral service. You also have the option to keep your loved one's ashes with you, or scatter them according to their wishes. If you choose burial, you'll need to factor in the cost of a casket as well as embalming if you want an open casket viewing. Knowing all of your options can help take some of the stress out of this difficult time.