Cremation costs in 2024: How much should you expect to pay for cremation?

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As cremation becomes the popular alternative to burial for more and more families across the US.  The question is being asked more frequently: “How much should a cremation cost?”

Whilst deciding whether cremation is for you can be a personal choice about death care alternatives, for many, the price of cremation can be a determining factor in their decision.

It is important to realize that cremation prices can vary considerably. Costs depend on the cremation service provider and on your location.

Many major city areas offer more competitive cremation prices, whereas rural areas and certain states tend to be more expensive overall.

View Table of Major Cities Cremation Price Comparison Chart.

So, what should you expect to pay for a cremation service?

Cost of cremation 2024

The first thing you need to consider is the type of cremation service you require. If you opt for a funeral service followed by cremation, then prices begin at $2,000 – $3,000.

This is significantly cheaper than typical funeral burial prices, which can be upwards of $4,000 (without including cemetery fees).

What is the least expensive cremation service?

A direct cremation is the least expensive cremation service you can opt for.  The term ‘direct cremation’ refers to where the funeral home or crematory offers no ceremony or services.  The deceased is collected from the place of death and sheltered whilst all required paperwork is completed.

In some states, a mandatory wait period is in force before the cremation can be performed.  The cremation is conducted, and the cremated remains are returned directly to the family.

As the funeral director offers basic services to facilitate a direct cremation, this can be offered at a base price.  Direct cremation ranges from $595 to $1,795, again depending on your locality.  A direct cremation can be conducted in Brooklyn, NY, for $595.

Comparing direct cremation costs by city

Below is an example of direct cremation costs in major cities in the United States. This data is extracted from the DFS Memorials network of affordable cremation providers and the Parting Funeral Price Survey website.

CityLowest direct cremation costHighest direct cremation cost
Chicago, IL$1,295$4,600
Dallas, TX$795$6,300
Fort Myers, FL$1,095$2,200
Houston, TX$749$6,800
Indianapolis, IN$850$6,100
Las Vegas, NV$895$2,240
Los Angeles, CA$925$2,900
Louisville, KY$750$3,390
Miami, FL$795$2,340
Nashville, TN$995$4,400
New Orleans, LA$1,595$2,930
Phoenix, AZ$850$2,370
Pittsburgh, PA$695$3,895
Salt Lake City, UT$695$2,595

What does a direct cremation price quoted include?

Affordable Cremation Services

Generally, a price for a direct cremation on a funeral home GPL or website will include:

  • Collection of the deceased from the place of death (may be an additional fee if residential collection)
  • Shelter of the deceased for a specified number of days (additional days may incur additional fees)
  • A cremation container
  • Services of the funeral director to complete all required paperwork (death cert. permits, etc)
  • The cremation process
  • A temporary cremation urn for returning the remains to the family

What additional fees may I incur on a direct cremation?

Cremation Costs

Third-party fees are generally added to a direct cremation price. These include the costs for death certificates and, if necessary, a fee for a cremation permit or medical examiner.

Other additional expenses could be:

  • Collection from a residential address instead of a hospital, morgue, or nursing home.
  • Barometric charges if the deceased is overweight.
  • Selection of a cremation casket
  • Selection of a cremation urn
  • Arranging a private family viewing before cremation

What do I do with the cremated remains once they are returned?

This is another question that families frequently ask.  As more families choose direct cremation, they want to do something with the cremation ashes when they are returned to them by the funeral home.  Memorial services and Life Celebration Ceremonies are growing in popularity.

The great thing about direct cremation is that aside from being a more affordable cremation option, is that the family can then conduct their own memorial service at a time and place of their choosing.

What about scattering the cremation ashes?

Scattering ashes is now being either requested or conducted by families who do not want to inter remains and feel that scattering a loved one’s remains in a special place is a more befitting final resting place.

Several direct cremation providers now offer packages where, for a small additional fee, they will scatter your loved one’s ashes for you.

Cremation Plans:  Think ahead and be prepared

The NFDA has declared “cremation as the chosen form of disposition for almost 80% of American deaths by 2035.” This means that more and more people will choose cremation for their final disposition. The cost of a direct cremation is often less than $1,000, making it a simple and affordable solution for many families today.

To better understand your options, it is wise to do some research and be aware of what direct cremation prices are in your city.  Those providers that offer pre-need cremation plans often add a premium to their at-need cremation price to allow for inflation, etc.

However, you can preplan without the need to prepay a cremation provider by selecting the provider you wish to handle the service and ensuring certain things are in place. You can pre-sign your own ‘cremation authorization form’ and lodge this with the provider in advance. You can set aside the required funds in a POD bank account that a beneficiary can gain instant access to in the event of the account holder’s death. 

You can read more about this on US Funerals Online at What is my best and safest option for putting aside money for a funeral?

Sara Marsden

I have been researching and writing about the death care industry for the last fifteen years. End of life services and experiences are something most of us choose not to reflect upon until we are suddenly faced with dealing with it. I have been contributing comprehensive and independent resources for families that explain how the funeral industry operates, and the laws that govern funeral practices. Sara writes for US Funerals Online and DFS Memorials LLC, as well as contributing to other forums and publications for the death care industry. I have a BA in Cultural Studies. This helps my analysis of cultural death care rituals, alongside a career background in Business Management. The death care industry is undergoing an epoch of change and this fascinates me.

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