The best universal remote

TV & Video

One benefit of using a universal remote is that you will need fewer batteries across all of your devices. Consider using rechargeable batteries in your universal remote to reduce your environmental impact even further.

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Which universal remotes are best?

It can be incredibly frustrating to have to constantly swap between a handful of remotes to control your TV, Blu-ray player, soundbar, cable box and everything else you need a remote for in your home. A universal remote can eliminate all of that frustration and confusion. With the right universal remote you’ll be able to control all of your current devices, as well as the devices you’ve yet to buy.

The best universal remote for today and whatever comes tomorrow is the Logitech Harmony 650 Infrared All in One Remote Control. This universal remote supports tons of brands, models and devices, plus the color screen makes it even easier to control.

What to know before you buy a universal remote

There are many things to consider as you look for a universal remote. For more information, visit the universal remote buying guide from BestReviews.

Types of universal remote

There are two types of universal remote: learning and pre-programmable.

  • Learning: A learning universal remote will copy the signals from the remote that came with your device. It is easy to train this kind of remote: Do the action you want it to copy on the original remote, then set the button(s) on the universal remote that you want to use for that action.
  • Pre-programmable: This is the most well-known and common type of universal remote. These remotes come with guides that teach you how to program a specific remote to your device. Often this will entail finding your device in the guide and inputting a corresponding code on your universal remote.

Benefits of a universal remote

If you aren’t convinced that you even need a universal remote, consider the following benefits to owning and using one:

  • You’ll save money by only replacing batteries in one remote.
  • You’ll save space by only needing to store one remote.
  • You won’t have to remember the different layouts or functions of your old remotes.
  • You won’t have to learn any new technology to use a universal remote. They work just like other remotes.
  • You can control some universal remotes with your voice.
  • You can use a universal remote with streaming devices and game consoles, unlike standard remotes.

Universal remote features

Universal remote connectivity

Some universal remotes can connect over WiFi and control other electronics on the same network. This makes it possible to control devices like security cameras and thermostats.

Universal remote controls

Some universal remotes can control more than just TVs and DVD players, so you can set them up to control nearly any electronic. The model you choose may have automatic controls that can be used without any programming, too. 

Universal remote child protection

You can select a universal remote that is programmable to deny access to certain channels without blocking any other channels, which is a pro for anyone with small children in the home.

Universal remote cost

The most basic universal remotes are $25 or less. Remotes with more features may cost $125.

Universal remote FAQ

How many devices can I control with one universal remote?

A. That depends on your universal remote. Some universal remotes only control up to four devices, while others can handle up to 12. Double-check the product listing before you purchase to make sure the universal remote can control the number of devices you intend to connect.

What devices can I control with a universal remote?

A. You can control a variety of items from TVs and media players to stereo systems and tape decks. Game consoles, streaming sticks, cable and satellite boxes and even lights are other systems you can connect to a universal remote. If you have a specific device you want to control, make sure it is compatible with the universal remote you purchase.

What’s the best universal remote to buy?

Top universal remote

Logitech Harmony 650 Infrared All in One Remote Control

Logitech Harmony 650 Infrared All in One Remote Control

What you need to know: User-friendly controls and brilliant performance make this the undisputed top choice for a universal remote.

What you’ll love: The bright color screen features tons of icons specific to your programming.

What you should consider: More features means more to learn. It may take you a while to program all of your devices.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top universal remote for the money

Inteset 4-in-1 Universal Remote for Apple TV, Xbox One, Roku & Media Center

Inteset 4-in-1 Universal Remote for Apple TV, Xbox One, Roku & Media Center

What you need to know: You can program this inexpensive universal remote to a range of devices.

What you’ll love: This remote is pre-programmed to multiple devices out of the box so you don’t have to program it yourself.

What you should consider: Some buttons light up, but they only stay lit for five seconds. This may make it more difficult to use the device in the dark.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Philips Universal Remote Control

Philips Universal Remote Control

What you need to know: This universal remote is very user-friendly and available in five colors.

What you’ll love: A quick-start setup makes this universal remote one of the easiest to program out of the box.

What you should consider: This remote isn’t compatible with streaming devices like Roku and Google Chromecast.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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