The days when dozens of remotes cluttered up the coffee table are over – more people are now seeing the benefits of universality.
Being able to control all your electronic devices, or at least the majority of them, from a single remote control is extremely useful. It’s a simplified approach for managing your devices and getting your setup fixed how you want it. And, even better, it’s a way to do all this without having to keep up with multiple remotes.
While no remote is perfect, there are some models that have gotten a little better reputation than others. Here are our picks for some of the best universal remote options on the market, complete with pros and cons for each.
Choices for Best Universal Remote
Got a Smart TV? Blu Ray player? A few other devices inside your living room, office, or entertainment center? Find a remote that can control most or all of them, and give yourself a better experience. Here are some of the best universal remote options.
GE 4-Device Universal Remote
We start the list with a model from GE – one of the most trusted names in the entire industry of universal remotes. There’s also a simple setup process and a convenient design including features like a master volume control for easy sound management.
Pros: With a broad code library, this remote supports almost all major brands and can work with thousands of devices – even newer ones. Expanding on the simple setup concept, it offers a scanning option to take the headache out of code lookups and manual programming.
Cons: While this remote does work on a lot of devices, it does not work with the Roku Streaming Stick or the Fire TV/Stick. The standard remote only works with 4 devices, though you can upgrade to a model that controls up to 6.
Inteset 4-in-1 Universal Backlit IR Learning Remote
This handy model from Inteset comes with a backlit display and a clean, sleek interface that allows you to find exactly the control you need at any time. It also includes covers for the keys, so you can label them according to which device you map to each.
Pros: This remote comes pre-programmed with codes for common devices like Apple TV, Xbox One, and Kodi/Roku devices (excluding the Roku Stick). It also has a learning feature built in, allowing it to pick up new codes from a vast library that represents tons of popular brands.
Cons: As with the one above, this device does have its limitations in terms of what devices it works with. And while features like the code lock can be very convenient in some instances, they can also cause problems for people who change their setup often.
Logitech Harmony 650 Infrared All-in-One
This powerful remote from tech leader Logitech can replace up to 8 of your normal remotes. That’s a lot of table space to clear up and a lot of confusion to lose. And given it is compatible with over 225,000 devices, it is a great option regardless of your setup.
Pros: This remote has a very user-friendly design, complete with a bright screen that shows your favorites. It is also equipped with one-touch activity buttons which can switch to your preferred devices and your preferred settings. If you’re looking for a highly customizable remote, this is the one. And for the price, it’s hard to find another remote of this caliber that can control so many devices.
Cons: For those who find their devices take a beating, a screen in the middle may be more of a risk than a help. You also have to log into the included software to use the remote – which isn’t that uncommon among universal remotes. However, users have reported that it is impossible to give remotes unique names in the software. So, if you’re using two of these to control separate devices, careful not to get them mixed up.
Samsung LCD LED HDTV Universal Model
With Samsung being a maker of so many popular TVs, it was only a matter of time before someone produced a remote that could work with all of them. Made by Coolux, this remote may be simplistic in its function, but it is great for the Samsung fan who wants to simplify things.
Pros: The main advantage of this remote, as stated, is its simplicity. But it goes just beyond having a remote for an entire family of TVs. This remote requires no programming with manual code entry. There’s also no need to scan and pair devices – this one is ready to go from the time you receive it.
Cons: While the designers may have been going for simplicity, some customers were upset because no instructions came with the remote. But besides that, and the fact you need to buy your own batteries before use, this remote is solid overall.
RCA RCR503BZ 3-Device Universal Remote
Compact and capable of controlling a trio of your favorite devices, this unit is a great starter remote if you’re looking for the universal variety. It’s affordable, upgradable to a model that controls 4 devices, and from a top name in electronics.
Pros: This remote isn’t just compact – it’s palm-of-your-hand compact. If you’re looking to save space, this is a good model to consider. It also versatile in the code methods it offers you. They include automatic, manual, and direct search.
Cons: Some users have complained this remote isn’t compatible with all their RCA devices – plus it’s so small that it can be cumbersome to use for those with bigger hands.
Which Universal Remote Option Is the Best?
Everyone has a different setup when it comes to their TVs, computers, and portable media devices. Universal remotes can be a way to free up space and save time – all while putting you in complete control of your setup.
No one remote is better than the other objectively – it all depends on your need and your setup. How many devices do you have? What do you look for in a controller? Answering those questions will make your search much easier, and any option on this list is worth considering.