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Is cremation cheaper than burial?

The cost of a cremation is usually less than a burial. In the UK, the average basic cremation costs £3,885 whereas the average basic burial costs £5,033*.


Why is cremation cheaper than burial?

There are a number of differences between cremation and burial which you should consider before deciding on the type of funeral you'd like for your loved one. Cremation costs are typically lower than burial costs, as there are more costs involved in a burial.


Burial fees

The main reason for the cost difference between cremation and burial, is the cost of the burial itself. Burial charges in the UK cost on average £1,986 but these fees can vary enormously depending on where you are in the UK. You can expect to pay up to £6,971 in SE26, London and as low as £320 in Magherafelt, Northern Ireland**.

In addition to the cost of the plot, you should also investigate how long the lease of the plot or ‘exclusive right of burial’ is, as unlike what most people believe, the purchase of a grave does not mean you own it forever. It is worth looking into joint plots if would like more than one family member to be buried together as this is normally cheaper than purchasing two separate burial plots.

Cremation doesn't require burial costs, but instead requires cremation fees. Although cremation costs do differ from region to region, they do not differ to the extent burial fees do.


Memorial costs

There will also be further costs if you are planning on having a headstone or memorial to mark your loved one’s grave, the cost of which is often overlooked when arranging a funeral. The cost of a headstone or memorial can vary depending on the type, design, material and personalisation you choose. In 2020, the average memorial cost £1,016*.

Many people opt for burial because of the permanent location they will have to visit their loved one. If this is the case for your family, you may also want to consider the memorialisation options available when opting for cremation. A cremation gives you greater choice in where your loved one’s final resting place will be. There are many things to do with ashes after cremation, such as scattering them in a place where happy times were shared, interring the ashes, using the ashes to create jewellery or keepsakes or keeping the ashes at home, in a special urn. Many of these options may also cost less than a headstone for a grave.


Additional costs of a burial funeral

In addition to the burial fees and memorial costs, there are also additional charges for gravedigging, the actual interment and the upkeep of the plot. The time of the day you’d like to hold the funeral can also influence the cost.

These extra costs will not be applicable for cremation.


Save on funeral costs by choosing a cremation

Whether opting for a burial or cremation, the overall cost of the funeral will be determined by who arranges it; whether you arrange the funeral service yourself, or if you wish for a funeral director to arrange it for you.
Using the services of a Funeral Director will ultimately mean higher costs. Funeral Directors put many hours into providing the service you ask for, and therefore make up a large percentage of funeral costs. If funeral costs are a concern, arranging a funeral without a Funeral Director will allow you to arrange a cheaper cremation.

At Simplicity, our funerals are arranged without the services of a Funeral Director. All of our funerals are arranged over the telephone, with the help of our expert team of funeral arrangers. Our range of low cost cremations allow you to arrange a respectful funeral for your loved one that suits your needs and budget, starting from £995. Unlike other funeral providers, our prices remain the same regardless of where you live in mainland Great Britain.

Our funeral prices include everything you will need for a simple funeral including cremation fees, doctor’s fees, care at our quality mortuary facilities, a simple coffin and transportation of the deceased to the crematorium. We’ve removed many of the ceremonial elements of a funeral such as a procession, a hearse and limousines, allowing us to offer further cost savings in comparison to a traditional funeral.

Learn more about our range of low cost funerals or contact us for more information.


*SunLife (2021), Cost of Dying Report, sunlife.co.uk/costofdying2021 
**Dignity Annual Funeral Cost Survey 2019

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