For most people, a simple granite headstone is the best option. However, depending on a number of factors and what the person is looking for specifically, other options (like marble or quartzite) may be better options.
In this guide, we break down the best headstone types of different scenarios, and discuss how to pick a headstone depending on what you’re looking for.
In this article…
- Headstone pros & cons
- Best headstone
- Longest-lasting headstone
- Best place to buy headstones
- How to pick the best headstone?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- How are headstones made? (Video)
Headstones: List of Pros & Cons
Each headstone type has its own strengths and weaknesses, here is a quick summary guide:
|Most Decorative||High Durability|
|Cons||Not Many||Most Expensive|
|Bottom Line||Well-Rounded||Most Stylistic, But Expensive||Most Durable, But Expensive|
Best headstone: Granite
If a friend or family member were to ask us what the best kind of headstone to buy is, we would have to say “granite”. Here are the reasons granite is generally considered the best headstone material:
- Most cemeteries will accept granite headstones. Other types (like marble or quartzite) may not be allowed.
- It’s very durable and long-lasting, and cheaper than other options.
- It comes in many colors – including dark ones which will allow you to do laser engraving on it.
- Upkeep of granite headstones, because of how common they are, will generally be easier to come by.
Longest-lasting headstone: Quartzite
Quartzite is harder than Granite, and will therefore last longer (all else being equal). On the Mohs scale of hardness, quartzite scores a 7 while granite measures between 6 to 6.5. When trying to figure out what will be the longest-lasting, consider that a lot of other factors will be at play here. Climate and upkeep are the two chief factors.
Quartzite is more expensive than granite because it’s a rarer stone. Granite costs about $50 per square foot, while quartzite will run at least around $60 per square foot.
Therefore, if spending more on a quartzite headstone will mean you’ll have less funds to pay for upkeep, or choose a cemetery with better care, it may not be the longest-lasting headstone option. Consider this when picking a headstone.
Best place to buy headstones
You can buy headstones from headstone suppliers or stores which carry an inventory of headstone stock. You can also purchase headstones online from a suppliers website or an online vendor, such as Amazon.
Shopping for a headstone online may be the best and most convenient option since you can compare prices from the comfort of your home or a mobile device.
One major disadvantage to online shopping is that you won’t be able to preview the headstone in person. This may make it harder to detect things like coloration, shine, and the quality of the stone. Headstones are quite heavy and shipping can be expensive, so even if you decide to return it, doing so won’t be easy. If time is not an issue, we generally advise readers to comparison shop.
If you decide to shop online, you can buy headstones from the following online vendors:
If you prefer to buy a headstone in person, you should still look online for reviews of local stores and suppliers. As usual, we recommend you turn to Google.
What is the best granite for headstones?
If you decided on a granite headstone, we recommend choosing a dark or black granite headstone versus a lighter one. This is because engraving on these types of headstones will be easiest.
In particular, dark headstones will allow you to easily do laser engravings which are cheaper and allow for more intricate designs (such as photo-like engravings of the person for whom the headstone is for).
Furthermore, if you’re looking at upright versus slanted or flat headstones, which one is best will depend on your goals. If you’re going for longevity, we recommend going with a flat granite headstone. These are smaller, and will therefore be less exposed to forces of nature.
Upright granite headstones, by the virtue of their size, will have more ways to wear down and may be more susceptible to acts of vandalism (because they stand out more than a headstone that’s just flat on the ground).
How to pick the best headstone?
We’ve made an easy-to-use flow-chart to help readers choose the best headstone. Simply use the image below to arrive at a recommendation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some quick answers to questions we see pop up frequently when people are searching for the best headstone.
What type of headstone lasts the longest?
Quartzite headstones will last the longest, but granite is also very durable.
How much does an average headstone cost?
On average, headstones in the United States cost $1,000. If you want to read more about it, check out our full guide of the cost of headstones.
Is granite or marble better for headstones?
If you are going for durability, granite is better. Some people consider marble headstones to be more visually appealing/prettier. However, marble is a softer stone and is more prone to damage from acidity in rain as well as usual wear and tear. You may need to replace or repair a marble headstone way sooner than a granite one.
How are headstones made?
We wanted to share with readers this video that depicts the process of a headstone being made. The video was initially uploaded to YouTube by Hopkins Memorials.