If you’re like most people, it’s difficult to keep from accumulating a stack of remote controls as your home tech collection expands. Fortunately, the universal-remote industry has kept up with the times, so there are several fantastic options available for those looking to consolidate.
We’ve done the legwork and rounded up the best remotes on the market—keep reading to determine which remote is right for you.
What to Do Before Making Your Purchase
Get Cozy with Logitech
After looking through our list, the first thing that stands out is probably how all but one remote is from Logitech. For better or worse, Logitech dominates the universal-remote niche. In fact, it dominates the market to such a degree that few other companies even bother to produce them anymore. But that doesn’t mean your options are limited. From $49 basics to $300 smart home hubs, Logitech’s product line is very diverse, with something available to fit any budget and need.
Ensure Device Compatibility
When it comes to compatibility, there isn’t much to worry about these days. Logitech continuously updates its databases of supported products—and the list is extremely long. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find something that wasn’t compatible with one of the remotes on this list. The one exception is the Ray Super Remote. It supports many devices, but not all, so do your homework before you drop all that money for it.
Look for Important Features
Is having a touch screen an important factor for you? Many remotes now have this feature, which allows for lots of contextual actions and neat tricks. Still, many don’t, and the ones that do tend to be more expensive—sometimes significantly so.
Another feature to consider is connectivity capabilities. Many universal remotes can now control not only your entertainment gear, but also any smart home gadgets you have, like Philips Hue lights or a smart door lock. But to do this the remote needs to have either Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity built in or be able to interface with a hub that does.
Now let’s take a deeper dive into the features of our top-ranked universal remotes.
Best Overall Remote
Amazon Rating (4.1 / 5)
This remote is the best of the best with a price to match. Logitech’s Harmony Elite universal remote is packed with features that can control not only your various entertainment gear, but all your smart home devices as well. You can lock the doors, dim the lights, or turn on the TV with just a single touch of the screen. Logitech advertises that its Harmony remotes are compatible with over 270,000 other devices, and the Elite can control up to fifteen of them, so you shouldn’t have any problem on that front. The Harmony Elite works all this magic with the help of the Harmony Hub, a small black box that acts as a middle man between the remote and your devices.
Amazon Rating (3.8 / 5)
This system takes the Harmony Hub and adds an easy-to-use and functional remote to the package. While an extra $50 might seem like a high premium to pay for the simple remote, this system provides the best overall value of any of the remotes on this list. You’ll get the full range of control of the Elite thanks to the Hub, plus access to the smartphone apps—for half the price. Although the remote lacks a touchscreen, it does have a crisp button layout that shouldn’t give you any problems.
(4 / 5)
The Harmony 650 is much friendlier on the wallet than the Elite, though it comes with less fancy features. Although it does have a screen to navigate commands, it isn’t a touchscreen. It also lacks the smart home integration, so it only works with devices that have IR receivers, ruling out compatibility with devices like smart door locks. It’ll pair with up to eight different devices, which is decent, though lower than many of the more expensive options. However, this is still a great remote, especially for the budget conscious. The keys are also backlit, which is a great feature that all remotes should have considering how often people watch TV in the dark.
(3.8 / 5)
The Harmony 350 is basically a 650 without the screen. It’s a sleek-looking remote that gets the job done at an affordable price. This remote also appeals to minimalists who don’t need all the fancy frills that come with the more expensive options. You still get control of up to eight devices, with the same 270,000 to choose from. There are five programmable presets that can take you to a favorite channel with a single press, along with buttons to set up other one-touch functions. Another thing worth noting is that the 350 is gigantic—this could be a good or bad thing, depending on how prone you are to losing your remote.
Best Smartphone Remote
(3.6 / 5)
If you want to consolidate even further, you can grab a Harmony Hub and the free Logitech Harmony app and let your smartphone be your remote control. This approach may sound appealing at first—and there are times when it is certainly convenient—but having your phone be your only remote comes with potential downsides. For one, you may not want to relinquish your phone to your friends if they demand to change the channel. Additionally, many people already struggle with smartphone battery life, and having your remote constantly dying or dead is no fun. However, you do get the smart home integration at a more affordable price.
Best Touchscreen Remote
(3.8 / 5)
Surprisingly, the Ray Super Remote seems to be the first remote of its kind. It’s essentially a giant touch screen, not unlike a smartphone. This makes it easy to use and allows for some interesting features that set it apart, like helping you find shows to watch right from the remote. While its compatibility doesn’t stretch quite as far as the Logitech remotes, it does support the big ones. And if you’re not sure if your devices are compatible, the company’s website has a handy search tool that lets you check. Lastly, it’s worth noting that this is by far the most compact remote on our list—again, this could be good or bad.
There you have it! Our top six universal remotes on the market. There’s something on this list for any need or budget, so find your favorite and get started enjoying the convenience and entertainment today.
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