Have you ever been watching TV and wished it was easier to switch from cable to Netflix to Xbox to BluRay and back again without using different remotes and controllers? Have you lamented your restricted entertainment options more than you’ve lamented the decline of the modern world? Do you think this is how we’re destined to live forever? Well, you’re wrong. If you’ve not yet invested in the best universal remotes then what are you doing? These guys are the next step in entertainment convenience, in indulging in sloth and laziness, and mean we can control everything from the comfort of our couch. So check out what we’ve selected for you while you wait for your pizza.
The Best Universal Remote
The Logitech Harmony 650 Infrared All in One Remote Control is our undisputed best choice for the best universal remotes around. It supports an incredible 8 devices, which allows you to speed through your channels and apps while also reducing clutter.
It’s also a versatile programmable remote, with you able to take advantage of the one-touch activity buttons, icons, and commands to set it to your favorite destinations with unbridled ease. Being compatible with over 225,000 devices over a range of 5,000 brands, there’s a wild amount of compatibility options to ensure no matter what devices you have in your home, you have the power to control them like TV always promised you.
Supports up to 8 devices to reduce clutter
Easy to read the bright screen with icons and commands
One-touch activity buttons
Compatible with over 225,000 devices
- Weight10.4 ounces
A universal remote that’s easy to read both in the day and at night, the Inteset 4-in-1 Universal Backlit Remote is excellent for night owls or those who just love to watch reruns of weird TV without shame. It comes pre-programmed for a variety of platforms, while the macro programming system allows you to set up to 15 auto commands for convenience and seamless navigation.
There are also useful adhesive button labels which allow you to customize your handset like you never thought possible (or more likely considered). To prevent any nasty jump scares, you can also set channel and volume lock between devices to save changing songs and channels blaring out and making you leap out of bed in fright.
Pre-programmed for a variety of platforms
Volume and channel lock capabilities
Macro programming up to 15 commands
Adhesive button labels
- Weight6.1 ounces
Almost immediately we arrive at our premium choice for a universal TV remote. The URC PowerPak Bundle is an awesome addition to your living room and while it’s expensive, it’s more than worth it. This is because it offers everything you get with an ordinary universal remote, but also so much more.
How much more? So much more. Included is a single MasterControl remote along with a Powerblaster which sounds cool even if you don’t know what it is and allows you to control up to individual 10 devices from one spot. Also included is the potential for learning options, which allows you to teach commands from other remote controls, giving you a base of operations that would be the envy of the most megalomaniacal Bond villains.
One MasterControl remote and Powerblaster included
Controls up to 10 devices
Learning options available
Simple Sound and Macro Power component control
- Weight7.7 ounces
Our second Logitech example is (all for one! And) one for all TV remote that’s Alexa compatible and also links with the useful Harmony app for excellent all-round control. The Logitech Harmony Elite Remote Control Hub has a full-color touch that propels remotes into the 21st Century and also includes awesome One-Touch activities including ‘Watch a Movie’ that will automatically adjust the device to the correct settings.
Like many smart home integrations, it provides whole house control and can even operate devices hidden behind walls and cabinet doors. You’ll also get a convenient charging station to ensure you’re never left back in the dark ages of entertainment control. Phew.
Full-color touchscreen with swipe operation
Links to Harmony app
Convenient charging station
- Weight12 ounces
The Caavo Control Center Universal TV Remote and Home Theater Hub is the thing cinephiles have wished for with every birthday for decades. It combines the magic of smart home technology with the vastness of home theater systems to create a remarkable collaboration between some of the best tech today has on offer.
Features include on-screen navigation and the ability to pair with Alexa, Google Home, and original device remotes, all with a straightforward and (almost) enjoyable set up. The remote is sleek and cool, which is ideal for a bachelor pad while also not ruining the carefully constructed living room aesthetic. If you want to get even more out of it, you can invest in the Caavo Service Plan to keep everything running smoothly.
On-screen navigation and machine vision
Pairing with Alexa, Google Voice, and original device remotes possible
Easy, straightforward setup
Caavo Service Plan enhances experience
- Weight2.2 pounds
Looking a little closer to what you remember from your childhood, the Sony Universal Remote Control is a simple, easy-to-understand device which still offers a plethora of features to make your entertainment scrolling easy. It doesn’t have touch screen technology, but the amount of buttons ensures there’s plenty to love about it. The learning function capabilities mean you can immediately expand your control options, and it can recognize up to 8 different devices, which is more than enough.
Besides this, there are 12 one-touch macro functions which you can arrange to perform consecutive functions with just one press of a button, leaving plenty of time to take a sip of beer and collect the family for movie night. It centralizes all Sony devices and can work with non-Sony products, too, so there’s no need to run out and exchange all your TVs, players, and consoles for Sony products.
Learning function for expanded control
Recognizes up to 8 devices
12 one-touch macro functions
Centralizes devices with ease
- Weight5.3 ounces
If you’re after the best universal remote but don’t want (or need) to spend too much, the GE 8 Device Universal Remote is a fantastic option. It’s simple, straightforward, and doesn’t rely on the fancy features of vastly more expensive options. Still, it provides multiple device control and is compatible with all major brands, all while looking like your standard generic remote.
Appearances are deceiving, though, and the auto scan technology is a welcome surprise and makes it super easy to set up. The Master volume control also offers autonomy over all devices, which keeps everything at an ideal noise level and won’t wake the neighbors. For those seeking simplicity, there isn’t anything better, and if there is, it’s not available at a price anywhere near as good as this.
Multiple device control
Compatible with all major brands
Easy, straightforward set up with auto scan technology
Master volume control across devices
- Weight5.6 ounces
If you don’t have an all in one remote, then it’s easy to say you’ve not experienced what’s real life yet. With another visit from Logitech, the Harmony Companion All in One Remote Control is a superb house buddy to keep you company long after all your friends have given up on you, but only because you won’t shut up about your remote.
It’s Alexa compatible that allows for whole-house control, and you can navigate different setting with ease thanks to either smartphone app or the Harmony remote for excellent one-touch control. This allows you to set it up with ease across over 270,000 devices (or as many as you have), which if it’s that many, well, we’re impressed.
Alexa compatible for whole-house control
Smartphone and Harmony remote ensures one-touch control
Straightforward set up with over 270,000 devices
Recognizes hidden devices in cabinets and walls
- Weight3.84 ounces
The Logitech Harmony Ultimate One is a touch screen universal remote that looks just like you’d expect remotes of the future too. It allows easy operation a responsive swipe and tap color for dynamic viewing and readability, especially if you’re still scrolling after dark, unable to tear your eyes away from the TV like Infinite Jest.
The 50 channel icons also ensure you can skip to your favorites quicker than ever before – no more endless searching and skipping, and you can do this with the hassle-free customization for your most visited destinations. Like other Logitech remotes, it works with over 225,00 devices and can control 15 infrared devices around the living room, or wherever you set up your hub.
Swipe and tap color touch screen
50 Favorite channel icons
Controls up to 15 infrared devices
- Weight5.6 ounces
Finally, Philip 4-in-1 Universal Remote is a no-nonsense option for anyone a little reluctant to embrace the wonders of ultra-high-tech products but still feel like they should upgrade to more control. It offers quick access buttons which you can use to load up your favorite streaming services, and it works with a variety of devices for – well – universal control.
It’s really more of a functional device, though, and this is clear with its large buttons for easy readability, making it great for the older generation, and the ergonomic, streamlined design is perfect for bingeing their favorite shows. Overall, it’s a universal remote control for TV that isn’t flashy and looks much like what you’ve known all your life, just with a little flair to make sure it fits perfectly in your modern home.
Quick access streaming service button
Large buttons for easy readability
Ergonomic and streamlined for comfortable handling
Straightforward set up with variety of devices
- Weight4 ounces
Universal Remote Buying Guide & FAQ
Features To Look For In Universal Remotes
Relax, searching for the best universal remotes is supposed to be fun, but only as long as you consider these important features to find the right one for you.
Compatibility - What’s the point in buying something which doesn’t even work with your TV and other devices? While universal remotes can be compatible with as many as 275,000 devices across 5,000 brands, it’s still a good idea to check the one you buy is compatible with what you have at home.
Connectivity Options - There is a variety of connectivity option in the modern world which people of the past may consider akin to witchcraft, even as recently as a mere ten years ago. The potential to connect to devices via wifi, Bluetooth, and smart home assistants is crucial to making a universal remote truly universal.
Display - Not all remotes have a display screen. If you’re looking for a standard, no-frills option, this won’t matter, but for those who want all the bells and whistles of display options to make life easier and painfully futuristic, you can invest in one which provides a screen service. These models will cost more, but they’re worth it.
Automation - While some universal remotes only allow you to move between different devices, an automated remote allow single button operation to complete whatever you need. With models such as the Logitech Harmony, you can select ‘Watch a Movie’, which doesn’t roll the Lord of the Rings Trilogy for the umpteenth time, but will also alter the sound and even dim the lights so you feel you’re at the movie theater.
Ease of Use - The best all in one remote for you should be easy to use. They’re all pretty straightforward, but if you’re not the most tech-savvy of people in the world (and there’s no shame in that), look for one that isn’t too overwhelming for you or the person who will use it.
Smart Home Support - More and more people are transforming their homes from the standard abode to a smart home where your house is connected via wifi and Bluetooth. If your house can work with a smart remote, you can look for a universal remote control that doesn’t just control your TV and other entertainment devices, but everything else in the house.
Mobile Device Apps - An integrated app for your smartphone will make everything more streamlined and allows you even greater control over your home so you’ll be well on your way to becoming the supreme overlord of the house.
When the inevitable happens and you lose your universal remote down the sofa, you can use your phone instead. If your kids hijack the remote to watch a show but the big game is on, you can use your phone to make things right. You’ll probably not win any father of the year awards, and you’ll almost definitely end up getting name-checked in a bad SoundCloud rap, but who cares, it’s you that controls everything. Cue malevolent laughter now.
Types Of Universal Remotes
Pre-programmed remotes - These remotes come with an already-set list of functions which save you the hassle of trying to figure them out by yourself and wasting precious time you could spend in front of the TV. These include watching movies, locking volume across devices, and activating your preferred streaming service.
PC-programmable remotes - If you’ve seen cool features on other remotes online, you can integrate your device’s serial number to find and download these features and programmes directly to the universal remote system and use it straight away, which is great for those short on time, or who are just plain impatient.
Wifi-enabled remotes - We’re so spoiled that anything that doesn’t work with wifi seems archaic, but not all universal remotes have this ability. If you rely heavily on wifi connectivity for operating your devices, these are the remotes you need to look for.
Radio Frequency remotes - Instead of using infrared like traditional remotes, a radio frequency remote finds devices on the same (or similar) frequencies to operate, even if you’re not directly in front. This helps you operate systems behind cupboard doors or even in the next room.
Touch screen controlled remotes - The top universal remotes will have touch screen control to save you fumbling around looking for the right button and allow you to control everything with a simple tap of the screen. They make it easier to operate with the lights out and allow you to scroll through functions without hassle.
Learning remotes - If you thought universal remotes couldn’t get any smarter, the learning-capable models give you the opportunity to set macros or activities with as many as 15 functions so you can control everything with a single button. Instead of pressing the Source button, finding the right media, and then turning off the lights and the volume up - which can all be time-consuming, you can teach your learning remote to do all that in one.
Universal Remote FAQ
Q: What is a Universal Remote?
A: As the name suggests, a universal remote is something that offers universal TV control. This doesn’t mean it controls every TV on Earth and beyond (although that’d be cool), but instead means it can control over one device.
Previously, you had a remote which would only work with your TV or video player via an infrared signal, but this has since changed, and now, universal remotes can control Samsung, Sony, Philips, and whatever other brands you can think of. The top products work with over 5,000 brands, which is convenient, prevents you losing multiple remotes down the side of the sofa, and reduces clutter around the room.
The guys who invented the remote holder are probably furious right now.
Q: Who needs a Universal Remote?
A: Everyone needs a universal remote. Well, nearly everyone, anyway. Those who will get the most from these little handheld marvels are people with mammoth home theater systems or anyone who needs several remotes to skip through different functions of their TV. Not only will this save time and hassle, but it’ll also reduce pesky table clutter.
Another, often neglected corner of the universal remote market is the elderly, especially those with more advanced technology who may not know how to use it. This is usually when relatives installed their TV and other entertainment systems for them.
The universal remote saves confusion and allows them to control everything with a single remote without the frustration that everyone (not just the elderly) experience when dealing with technology that doesn’t seem to work.
Q: What can a Universal Remote control?
A: If you make a list of devices in your home, there’s a good chance the universal remote can control it. Primarily, though you’ll use them to control your TV.
The best models can do more than this, though, and you can use them to control your DVD or BluRay player, consoles, streaming services, and even smart home products. With the sheer number of possibilities, there’s little they can control, so we wouldn’t worry.
Q: Is it hard to set up a Universal Remote?
A: Not at all. Part of the beauty of universal remotes is that they’re super simple to set up, but only if it’s compatible with your devices. With modern technology and the Internet of Things being so widely accepting of different brands and systems, it’s likely it will be, other what’s the point?
Programme the remote to your desired device(s) and you’re good to go. If it stops working, you may have to troubleshoot and reconfigure, but this shouldn’t be too much hassle.
Q: What is the best Universal Remote?
A: We can’t tell you which is the best universal remote control. This isn’t because we don’t want to, but because we don’t know what you need. Still, for a top quality remote, look for features which include multiple device control (at least 8), and easy configuration to make moving from your standard remote more straightforward.