The Difference Between Traditional Cremation and Direct Cremation
Keep reading to learn a few other key differences between traditional cremation and direct cremation that can help you make the best decision for your situation.
Direct Cremation

As cremation becomes more common it’s entering the collective consciousness in a new way. Now the choice isn’t between cremation and burial for many people. It’s a matter of which type of cremation you’ll select. 

One term you may hear is “direct cremation.” It’s also sometimes called simple cremation because it’s a straightforward, streamlined service. Traditional cremation is similar to a conventional funeral that we are all familiar with: a person passes, a few days later there’s a viewing and the next day there’s the funeral service followed by the burial or cremation. With direct cremation there are no ceremonies. Once you have the death certificate the cremation commences. 

Direct Cremation is Quicker

One of the biggest differences between traditional cremation and direct cremation is the time it takes. Generally, direct cremation takes a lot less time to complete from start to finish, sometimes just as few days. 

Traditional cremations resemble a traditional burial in terms of what happens up until the point of cremation or burial. There is usually a viewing and memorial service beforehand that can add a few days or more to the timeline. 

Direct Cremation is Less Expensive

Another factor is the cost. Because there’s less involved, a direct cremation is going to typically cost significantly less than traditional cremation. While the Nation Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) estimates the average cost of traditional cremation with a viewing at $5,150, direct cremation is commonly around $1,000. 

There are a few reasons why direct cremation is far less expensive than traditional cremation:

  • No embalming is needed. This can save $750 on average.
  • No rental casket is needed for a viewing. This can save $995 on average. 
  • No need to rent the funeral home for a viewing. Saves approximately $425.
  • No need to rent the funeral home for a funeral service. Saves approximately $500.
  • No printing memorial materials, which saves around $175. 

That’s $2,735 in expenses that aren’t necessary with direct cremation. But those are simply average costs from the NFDA’s research. Depending on where you live, who the service provider is and the options selected it could cost much more to have a traditional cremation with a viewing and funeral services. 

Just make sure to get an itemized estimate from the funeral home that will be performing the cremation. The funeral home may charge slightly more if additional services are included such as transportation and retrieving death certificates. 

The process used to cremate can also affect the price of direct cremation. Some crematoriums charge slightly higher fees for services that are more eco-friendly or performed in a specific way. 

If there are no directives in a will, the next of kin will need to make all of the arrangements on their own. Deciding which cremation option will be best is a difficult and personal decision that you’ll have to think through carefully. Some families are deciding to use direct cremation and then hold a memorial service with the remains afterward. This option allows you to honor your loved one while keeping expenses in check. 

If you’d like to know more about direct cremation we’re happy to provide additional information at no cost or obligation. Contact us at any time online or via email.

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