The average household contains at least three remote-controlled devices, each with its own remote control. This makes it difficult to quickly locate the remote you need for a specific device in a haste, especially if you’re in a hurry. A good alternative to having several remotes just laying around is to invest in a universal remote. With a universal remote, you can bundle the functions of several remote controls in a single remote, making it a whole lot easier for you to quickly change the settings of virtually any remote-controlled device you might own. With this in mind, let us find out what are the ten best universal remotes the market has to offer and what to look for when buying one.
Best Universal Remotes – Top List
10RCA RCRN04GZ 4 Device Universal Remote
This universal remote uses a green backlit keypad with red, blue, yellow, and green keys to access its cable, satellite, or Blue-ray functions. As such, it can control TV, SAT, CBL, DTC, DVD, and VCR devices with virtually no limitations to speak of. Ergonomic and easy to handle, it includes streaming players codes and an auto code search for good measure. It also provides support for all major brands and operates on two AAA batteries.
9RCA RCR313BZ 3-Device Universal Remote Control
Equipped with a partially backlit keypad, this remote control from RCA can control virtually any electronic device that can be operated remotely. To work, it uses just two AA batteries and comes with a lifetime warranty from RCA. It also includes streaming players codes that some of you might find useful. Not only that but you will find this remote control to be extremely easy to use due to its ergonomic design.
8Logitech 915-000230 Harmony 350
Although slightly larger than the remotes we talked about so far, the 915-000230 Harmony 350 from Logitech is seen as one of the best universal remotes out there. This is because it can replace up to eight remotes that you might now, including the TV set, the cable/satellite box, the DVR, Blu-ray player, and pretty much any other remote-controlled device. It also has programmable settings that you can customize according to every device you own.
7Sony RMVZ320 7-Device Universal Remote
This remote control from Sony is compatible with most major brands with preprogrammed codes. It is also capable of accessing on-screen DVD and VCR menu functions with no limitations whatsoever, which is something to look for in universal remote controls. In fact, it can control up to seven compatible AV components. The fact that it is extremely comfortable as due to its ergonomic design certainly makes all its features even more impressive.
6Logitech 915-000224 Harmony Ultimate One
Equipped with a swipe and tap color touchscreen, this remote control allows you to navigate all of the most common functions and commands of any TV set. Not only that but it also allows you to personalize the touch screen with any icons of your choosing. Furthermore, it benefits from an easy customization interface that enables you to organize and re-order buttons any way you want. At the same time, it can control up to 15 IR devices and works with almost two hundred thousand devices out there, which is impressive to say the least.
5RCA RCR503BZ 3-Device Palm-Sized Universal Remote
Like the name suggests, this particular remote control is quite small yet highly versatile and customizable. Despite its size, it can control up to three devices at a time, which is great considering that it works with almost any brand and that it doesn’t require any tiresome setup process. Like we said, it enjoys a palm-sized designed that makes it extremely comfortable, a construction that also makes it relatively inexpensive.
4Sony RMVLZ620 Universal Remote Control
The RMVLZ620 from Sony is seen as one of the most complex universal remote controls on the market and understandably so. This high-end remote features a learning function for a more expanded AV equipment control, control functions for up to eight AV components, twelve one-touch system control functions, and the capacity to control almost any TV, VCR, or DVD’s on-screen menus. Considering its affordable price tag, it would be safe to call it one of the best in this price range.
3Inteset INT-422 4-in-1 Universal Backlit IR Learning Remote
Just as the name would suggest, this remote can be programmed to work with any Apple TV, XBox One, Media Center/Kodi or Roku devices. At the same time, it features full LED backlighting for all its buttons, a great feature to have at the tip of your fingertips. Furthermore, this remote has a volume lock that allows the user to lock the volume in all modes, a channel lock to enable you to block access to any channel of your choosing, and an ID lock to block out access until a code is typed.
2Logitech Harmony Smart Control
This universal remote allows you to access and control devices through your smartphone, which is not something many such remotes can do. For this purpose, it features a smartphone app that includes swipe and tap controls, up to fifty favorite channel icons, volume controls, media playback operation, and a whole lot more. Not only that but it also comes with an included harmony hub that enables you to control devices hidden behind furniture or most walls.
1Logitech Harmony 650 Infrared All in One Remote Control
This is a more advanced version of the popular Harmony universal remote, one that builds on the previous version’s functionality to add a host of truly ingenious functions. We say this because it offers support for up to eight devices and has a bright color screen interface for you to use. It also has to be said that it has one-touch activity buttons that lets you switch between devices while recording the running settings of each individual device. Last but not least, it also benefits from a truly simplistic online setup process that can be accessed via any PC or Mac.
Can’t Find What You’re Looking For? Check these suggestions:
Universal Remote Control Buying Guide
Judging by the sheer variety of universal remotes available nowadays, one might find it rather difficult to settle on a remote that meets all the required standards without breaking the bank. Because of how versatile and multifunctional these remotes have to be, you have to make your choice with great consideration, not only in regards to the technologies a remote like this can host but also in terms of ergonomy and comfort. That said, here is what you need to consider when buying a universal remote control:
The first thing you need to worry about is how compatible a universal remote is with whatever devices you own. For the most part, good remotes are compatible with most popular brands and all the popular devices. Even so, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to educate yourself on the matter before committing to a purchase, especially if you want to be able to use the remote with any future devices you’re thinking about buying.
Number Of Devices Controlled
Another thing to consider is how many devices a universal remote can control at a time. Some devices can only control about three or so while others can connect to more than eight at a time, the difference here being made by the manufacturer and of course, the price tag. Again, you want to make absolutely sure that the remote you want to buy is compatible with your devices and whether not it can control more than one if needed.
Ease Of Use
You also want to ensure that the remote feels comfortable in your hand and that it is easy to operate. In this respect, let us point out that some such remotes are equipped not only with easy-touch buttons but also LCD or touchscreen interfaces to make your interaction with them a whole lot easier. For the most part, these remotes are also very intuitive and user-friendly, especially the ones with reprogrammable functions.
It is very important for a universal remote to be extremely easy to set up. On average, you don’t really want to spend more than a few minutes to configure the remote when connecting it to your devices for the first time. After that, you want the remote to record all the personalized settings for later use. Interestingly enough, while some of these remotes have to be configured manually, there are also those that can link up to your devices just by pushing a couple of buttons.
Given the pace of technological development, you can expect modern devices to boast a wide range of connectivity options when it comes to remote controls. The most common way for a remote to operate a device is through an infrared (IR) interface. It just so happens that this is also the most affordable version, one that unfortunately requires a clear line of sight between the remote control and the device you want to control.
Although not that common because of pricing reasons, there are apps out there that can turn your smartphone or tablet into universal remotes. Furthermore, some universal remotes even boast these apps as part of a set, meaning that you not only get an app for your smart devices but also a stand-alone universal remote for the job. We should point out, however, that you might need to employ an IR blaster for some of these devices.
As we already pointed out, some universal remotes have built-in touchscreens or LCD display screens to make interacting with them easier. On these screens, you get information about the functions being performed and various customization options like using icons for various functions. The latter also enables you to choose the icons you like best for a more user-friendly experience when controlling your devices.
When pondering about what remote(s) to get, you will undoubtedly reach a point when you will have to decide between an affordable remote and a more feature-packed, pricier version. Let us point out that high-end universal remotes don’t come cheap and that you can use reputable ones to control virtually any remote controllable device out there. That’s not to say that inexpensive models aren’t functional, although you cannot really expect a cheaper one to meet the same standards.
Last but not least, those of you who are avid gamers should be pleased to know that there are universal remotes out there that can be used to control various gaming consoles. Either with the remote control by itself or by employing a hub of sorts, you can safely use some universal remotes to control the functions of popular gaming consoles, to some extent at least. One thing to remember is that most consoles can be remotely controlled via Bluetooth, RF, or Wi-Fi instead of the traditional IR that most remotes use.