If you’re anything like myself, that home theater of yours is becoming more and crowded with streaming boxes, game consoles and receivers. This often results in a coffee table filled with various remotes and no clear path to firing up your latest binge watch. Going with a universal remote is a no-brainer, but finding the right one to fit your needs (and budget) can be a daunting task. We’ve rounded up four of our top picks below to fit the needs of every setup.
Before we dive into our favorite universal remotes, it’s important to take a moment to examine your setup and identify your needs. First, let’s take stock of how many components we’re dealing with. If you just have a TV, receiver and soundbar, going with a simple universal remote should do the trick. It’s when additional streaming boxes, receivers and gaming consoles are in the mix that looking for a higher-end solution is needed.
Generally speaking, going beyond a single component per category (TV, audio, receiver, streamer) means you’ll need a remote that can handle more than basic volume and channel functions. Unfortunately, competition gets pretty slim as more features are needed with Logitech generally ruling high-end sector.
Entry-level universal remotes aren’t going to do much for the design-obsessed, but for the price it’s hard to complain. In fact, this option from GE is available in various colors for under $10. It offers support for four devices from all of the major players. It’s going to be limited when it comes to next-level features and there is not any customization here. But those with a simple TV, soundbar and receiver setup will want to look here. Nearly 800 Amazon reviewers have left a 4/5 star rating.
The add-on |
Sideclick hit the scene a few years back as a response to the growing number of cord-cutters and streaming media players in our homes. For $25-$30, you can add near full-functionality to a Roku, Apple TV or Fire TV remote. These plastic holsters snap on to your existing controller and deliver volume and power controls. A solid option for cord-cutters with good ratings across the board at Amazon.
Going to the next level |
Our first entry from Logitech delivers full-on smart home control, Alexa integration and access to a library of more than 270,00 devices. For most people, this is the top-of-the-line option that will deliver support for up to eight devices at a time. Those with more complex systems, Philips Hue lights or multi-room Sonos system will want to look here. This system can be controlled by Alexa, bringing voice functionality into the mix. Retails for $120 and rated 3.6/5 stars.
The G.O.A.T. |
The Logitech Harmony 950 is king when it comes to consumer-focused universal remotes. An integrated touchscreen along with Logitech’s incredible library of compatible devices makes this the cream of the crop in our eyes. It also offers support for 15 devices at a time, nearly double our next level pick. It’s pricey at around $185 but does have excellent ratings.