A top choice for its crisp, bright color screen – complete with icons – and its ability to support numerous brands and devices.
It may take you a while to figure out how to correctly program the remote.
Distances itself from competitors with its versatile setup, including pre-programming for Apple TV, Windows Media Center, and more.
The illumination period lasts just five seconds and can't be adjusted.
Straightforward design and a small yet efficient size. Inexpensive. Has a maximum range of 10 feet, which is ideal for small and midsize rooms.
Lacks an input button – a standard feature on most remote controls.
Remote is easy to set up; keypad is easy to navigate. Slim design. Compatible with most TV brands. Affordable.
Although compatible with other devices, such as DVRs and DVD players, it won't work with all brands. Some longevity concerns have been reported.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
With all the media devices you can now connect to your TV and monitor, it seems like you might need a dozen remote controls just to manage them all. Luckily, that’s not the case. Ongoing improvements in universal remote technology help alleviate the problem.
A universal remote is not just a TV remote. Rather, it is a singular device that uses the same connectivity types as your other devices, including Bluetooth, voice commands, and infrared. With a universal remote, you can streamline control of everything into one unit. This makes navigating your home media easier. A number of devices, including your Blu-ray player, DVD player, Sonos soundbar, Philips Hue lights, Roku, Xbox, Sony Playstation, and other gaming consoles may be compatible. Figuring out which universal remote is right for you could be tricky, so you'll want to consider the type of remote you need and the features that will work best for you.
The purpose of a universal remote is to make your home theater easier to manipulate and enjoy.
When you buy a television, it comes with a TV remote. When you buy a satellite or cable or box, it comes with a remote. DVD, Blu-ray, DVR, streaming media players, and even video game systems with added media components also come with some kind of remote. That’s a lot of remotes!
After a while, switching from device to device with a different remote each time grows tedious. A universal remote brings all of that functionality into one handheld item.
Consider the benefits of a universal remote:
“Logitech Harmony Hub” is a name to know in the world of these fantastic devices. The Harmony Hub is priced in the mid-range (around $100) and works with Amazon Alexa to control multiple home entertainment devices. The Harmony remote turns your iPhone or Android smartphone into a personalized remote.
Several types of universal remotes populate the market; the two primary types are “pre-programmable” and “learning” remotes.
Programming a universal remote is quite simple.
Most remotes come with either a built-in list or pamphlet of devices. This list covers a wide range of major brands, competitors, third-party manufacturers, and specific models.
Underneath those brands are a list of the most common devices they produce, such as televisions or Blu-ray players. Next to each device name, you’ll find a set of codes.
Using the directions provided by the universal remote manufacturer, find the code for the device you wish to program on this list. Input the code and confirm your choice.
At that point, the universal remote calibrates itself to that device’s functions and assigns the proper controls to your remote.
For most remotes, this is where the programming process ends.
However, if you have a smart remote that is able to connect to Wifi or receive updates, new codes can be added as new devices come onto the market.
Some universal remotes use a WiFi connection to enhance connectivity. However, their ability depends on the strength of the WiFi signal. If you’re looking to connect everything in your home through the internet, this type of universal remote could be a good option.
Not every remote is designed simply for the basics. Some units include cool features that give you much more control than you may have anticipated.
For example, you might choose a remote that includes automatic controls for Apple TV, Xbox One, the Windows Media Center, and a Roku, all of which can be accessed without programming.
Some remotes boast a WiFi connection that allows you to use the device on other electronics that employ the same principles.
For example, if you have a thermostat that can be controlled by computer access or security cameras with a remote interface, it’s possible to program the remote to operate those devices.
Parents who want an extra level of control over what their kids watch can select a remote with lockout controls.
With a remote like this, it’s possible for parents to deny a child access to specific channels without restricting all of their favorite channels.
Inexpensive: For $25 or less, you can get a basic universal remote control, or “clicker,” with a basic look that includes buttons but no digital display or touchscreen. Many of these cost around $10.
Mid-range: Between $25 and $125, a great range of options exist. If you want something that can control more than just your TV and cable box, look here.
High-end: Between $125 and $300, you will find top technology. These remotes offer highly impressive functionality, controlling everything from a mobile app to your smart TV, streaming devices, appliances, and more. Often, you can control up to 15 devices with one little handheld device. Backlit keys, a user-friendly touchscreen, and voice control are frequently seen here as well.
Are you looking for a universal remote control that will make surfing Netflix a breeze? Most universal remotes today can be used to peruse Netflix.
The best universal remotes are intuitive devices that kids and adults can easily understand and operate.
The right remote can be used with voice control to operate your smart home devices.
Stock up on batteries for your universal remote so you are never caught without enough juice for your controller.
A. Besides the obvious products (TVs and media players), you can program some universal remotes to control CD changers, laserdisc players, stereo systems, amplifiers, cassette tape decks, game consoles, satellite/cable boxes, and even computer light controls.
A. No. Some technology is so outdated that it will never connect to a modern universal remote. Betamax is a good example, as the remotes for those systems are so out of date, they don’t conform to any standard system.
However, some new tech devices also won’t connect. Why? Some manufacturers have made their products so highly secure that no remote — other than the one you would purchase from that company — will connect to it.
A. The answer to this question depends on your remote. Some can only control three or four devices at a time. Others can handle up to 12 devices at once. The packaging on the remote should tell you how many devices you can successfully integrate.
A. While the remote that came with your streaming stick or set-top box will always work with its intended device, a modern remote purchased today will eventually become obsolete with future electronics. Technology progresses, but people’s buying habits don’t always move quite as fast. If you like the tech you have and don’t want to buy anything new, we recommend that you stick with it until the day arrives that it must be replaced.
However, if you’re a consumer who tends to quickly buy the next best thing, there’s a good chance your universal remote won’t “keep up” for quite as long.