As the number of devices grows, so too does the number of apps and remote controls we need to manage and use them all. The proliferation of management apps and remote controls creates issues.

Theoretically, these devices make our lives easier and more streamlined, but jumping around between endless software and hardware is annoying and time-consuming. It’s not conducive to an enjoyable experience.

Some companies are offering solutions in the form of universal remote controls. They integrate with a vast number of everyday devices, thus providing you with a single tool for controlling your home. Here are some of the best universal remote controls you can buy today.

The Logitech Harmony Elite is the best universal remote that money can buy—it’s just unfortunate that you’ll need a lot of money to make it yours!
This model lets you connect up to 15 devices and systems.

That’s more than any other universal remote in the Logitech range. The devices cover TVs, streaming gadgets, smart home systems like blinds and thermostats, CCTV cameras, and many more.

In the box, you get a hub. It allows you to control set-top boxes and other devices that might live inside a cupboard or cabinet and are thus out of reach of the IR blaster.

And make sure you also program some groups for one-touch activities. It means you can say something like, “watch a movie,” and program the lights to dim, the TV to turn on, and the blinds to close.

Key Features

  • All-in-one control of up to 15 devices
  • One-touch activities
  • Amazon Alexa voice support
Specifications

  • Brand: Logitech
  • Weight: 5.78oz (163.8g)
  • Platform Compability: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
  • Connectivity: Infrared, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
  • Integrations: Sonos, Apple TV, Amazon Alexa, Roku, Sony, Philips Hue, Lifx
  • Battery: Rechargeable lithium-ion polymer
  • Integrated Screen: Yes
Pros

  • Dedicated buttons for smart home devices
  • Out-of-the-box support for more than 270,000 devices
  • Includes a hub for inaccessible devices
Cons

  • Expensive
  • Heavier than other models
  • Long initial setup

The Logitech Harmony 950 is the best Logitech-branded universal remote that does not support smart home devices. The next model up—the Harmony Elite—adds Bluetooth and wireless connectivity and can thus manage thermostats, lights, blinds, locks, and other internet-of-things units.

Many of the best features of the Elite are also available on the 950. That includes custom activities, motion-activated backlights, a 2.4-inch touchscreen, and gesture support. The Harmony 950 can support up to 15 devices from Logitech’s library of more than 270,000 different gadgets.

Key Features

  • Color touchscreen
  • Includes charging station
  • Backlit buttons
Specifications

  • Brand: Logitech
  • Weight: 5.78oz (63.8 g)
  • Connectivity: Infrared
  • Integrations: Any infrared-enabled visual or audio device
  • Battery: Rechargeable
  • Integrated Screen: Yes
Pros

  • Battery has 20 percent more capacity compared to previous model
  • Easy setup via the app
  • Gestures supported
Cons

  • Cannot control smart home devices
  • Expensive
  • No Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connections

The Logitech Harmony Companion is best thought of as a cheaper version of Logitech’s premium universal remote, the Logitech Harmony Elite.

Much of the functionality between the two remotes is the same. They both support Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and infrared, both work with entertainment devices and smart home devices, and both rely on the smartphone app for setup and management.

The two main differences are the lack of a screen and the number of devices you can add. The lack of a screen might not be a dealbreaker—after all, how many remotes you currently own have a display? However, the Companion only supports eight devices compared to the Elite’s 25. If you have lots of gadgets, it might not be suitable.

Key Features

  • IR, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi connectivity all supported
  • Harmony Hub included
  • Dedicated home automation controls on remote
Specifications

  • Brand: Logitech
  • Weight: 3.90oz (110.5g)
  • Platform Compability: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
  • Connectivity: Infrared, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • Integrations: More than 270,000 entertainment and smart home devices
  • Battery: Lithium-ion rechargeable
  • Integrated Screen: No
Pros

  • Cheapest Logitech model that supports smart home equipment
  • Works with games consoles
  • Harmony Hub lets you control devices in cabinets and behind walls and other blockages
Cons

  • No integrated screen
  • Only supports up to eight devices
  • Heavy reliance on smartphone app for setup

The Logitech Harmony 665 is cheaper than Logitech’s renowned Elite model. It provides many of the same great features as you’ll find on the more expensive edition, but there are also some tradeoffs as you’d expect.

Perhaps the most significant tradeoff is the lack of smart home controls. Because the Logitech Harmony 665 only has an IR blaster, you cannot control thermostats, blinds, or other devices that rely on Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

This universal remote supports up to 10 devices, and you can customize up to 23 channels for one-touch access.

Key Features

  • 23 customizable channel favorites
  • Support for up to 10 external devices
  • Full color screen
Specifications

  • Brand: Logitech
  • Weight: 6.1oz (172.9g)
  • Connectivity: Infrared
  • Integrations: More than 270,000 home entertainment devices
  • Battery: 2 x AA
  • Integrated Screen: Yes
Pros

  • Works with TVs, disc players, sound systems, media streamers, game consoles, and more
  • Backlit buttons
  • Easy setup using the app
Cons

  • No smart home control
  • No support for Wi-Fi or Bluetooth
  • Cannot recharge batteries

If you want a device that controls everything, Logitech has the market cornered. Across the company’s product range, there’s something to suit every usage scenario and every price point.

But not everyone needs something that can control everything. Despite the recent explosion in smart devices, they remain relatively niche for the population at large.

That’s where the GE Universal Remote Control 34457 comes in handy. It is designed to work exclusively with audio and video components; it cannot control your smart home devices. That means you can buy the remote for considerably less money than some other models on the market.

But before you hit the buy button, make sure you know what you want to control. Only four devices are supported; it won’t be enough for a lot of people.

Key Features

  • Operate up to four different audio and video devices
  • Pre-programmed for Samsung TVs and Roku boxes
  • Huge library of programmable codes
Specifications

  • Brand: GE
  • Weight: 3.2oz (90.7g)
  • Connectivity: Infrared
  • Integrations: Smart TVs, Blu-ray players, DVD players, cable boxes, streaming boxes, soundbars, and more.
  • Battery: 2 x AAA
  • Integrated Screen: No
Pros

  • Automatic code search feature
  • Available in five colors
  • Cheaper than many rivals
Cons

  • Does not work with Roku streaming stick or Amazon Fire TV Stick
  • Does not work with RF devices
  • No screen

The Sofabaton U1 is a great option for anyone who wants most of the premium Logitech devices’ features without the premium price tag.

Some of the headline features include an infrared blaster with a range of 33 feet, a scroll wheel for quickly jump between devices and moving around menus, and programmable macros, each of which can have up to 10 string commands.

The Bluetooth has a range of 66 feet when indoors. Notably, the Sofabaton U1 is also easy to set up. According to the manufacturer, there is an accompanying app that will be able to program more than 99 percent of devices automatically.

Key Features

  • Bluetooth and infrared support
  • Connect up to 15 devices
Specifications

  • Brand: Sofabaton
  • Weight: 10.2oz (289.1g)
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, infrared
  • Integrations: TV, satellite/cable box, Blu-ray player, Apple TV, Roku, Sonos, Amazon Fire TV, and more
  • Battery: 2x AA
  • Integrated Screen: Yes
Pros

  • Multi-command macro button
  • Scroll wheel for easy navigate in EPGs
  • Accompanying smartphone app
Cons

  • No Wi-Fi connectivity
  • No backlit buttons
  • Display only shows which device the remote is currently controlling

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The Inteset 4-in-1 Universal Remote offers a vast amount of supported devices at a highly affordable price. Considering the low price, the list of features is surprisingly impressive.

It includes macro programming (with up to 15 string commands), a volume lock, a channel lock, and even pre-programmed buttons for Apple TV, Xbox One, Kodi, and Roku. All the controls are backlit, but the device is not motion-sensitive.

On the downside, devices running Fire TV will only be supported if you buy a separate Inteset IR receiver to use as an adaptor.

Key Features

  • Channel lock
  • Custom labels
  • Macro support
Specifications

  • Brand: Inteset
  • Weight: 5.6oz (158.7g)
  • Connectivity: Infrared
  • Integrations: Apple TV, Roku, Nvidia Shield, Xbox, Kodi, and more
  • Battery: 2x AA
  • Integrated Screen: No
Pros

  • Backlit buttons
  • Dedicated buttons for Apple TV, Xbox, Kodi, and Roku
  • Massive device code database
Cons

  • No Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity
  • Self-adhesive button labels can work loose
  • Not compatible with 2019 Nvidia Shield (tube model)

FAQ

Q: How Do You Set Up a Universal Remote?

It depends on the connectivity the device offers. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi models often use an app to do most of the legwork. If it’s infrared, you will typically have to program a code into the remote to make it start working.

 

Q: Can a Smartphone Be a Universal Remote?

If your phone has an IR blaster, then yes. You can download an app and program it in a similar way to a regular universal remote. However, IR blasters in phones are not very common, and over time, are becoming even less common.

Q: Do Universal Remotes Work on Any TV?

In theory, yes. You will almost always be able to find an online code for your TV model, even if it is not included in the remote’s literature. All mainstream TV brands are supported without issues.

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