Best Universal Remotes 2021

Best Universal Remotes 2021

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You have so many gadgets in your home, that you wished could be controlled with one remote, instead of having to use a remote for each gadget. Then you are at the right place. There is a solution to that, a universal remote. This post is aimed at showing you the best universal remote.

With just one remote, you can control so many gadgets in your home, ranging from the TV, sound system, DVD player, etc. And many a universal remote control has app features that ensure it works with your iPhone, Android phone or other smartphone. They can also work with smart devices and voice systems such as Google Home and Amazon Alexa.

Unfortunately it doesn’t work on laptops.

BUYER’S GUIDE

People buy a universal remote for ease and convenience; however, for the uninitiated, picking a device that’s affordable as well as user-friendly is itself a big challenge. What are the essential features of a good universal remote control? What features can you do without?

What is the ideal price you should be paying for the device? The following information answers these questions for the first-time universal remote buyer as well as for those looking to upgrade their current device.

Types of universal remotes

Replacement remotes: This is the most basic type of remote that works as a replacement for your original TV remote. You can buy either a replacement remote of the same brand or one of another make that’s compatible with your TV.

Many replacement remotes are upgraded models of your old remote, so they come with additional buttons and features. Before you buy a replacement remote control, check if it has all the functions that you use frequently with your TV.

Consolidation/universal remotes: This is the remote you want if you’re looking to consolidate all your remotes into a single universal remote that can help you interact with a variety of devices, including your TV, Blu-ray player, gaming console, DVD player, audio system and other smart-home appliances.

Universal remotes are all the rage these days as they allow you to de-clutter your space and do away with the hassle of always looking for remotes and managing multiple devices each day.

The higher-end models are compatible with a large number of appliances and devices and many are designed to interact with the latest smart home systems.

Additionally, some premium models are equipped with features that allow you to perform multi-step functions through a single button. For instance, a customized macro on a smart remote will turn on your audio system, fire up the oven, and dim the bedroom lights at the press of a single button.

With a consolidation remote, you can control an entire home theater or entertainment system with a single device. For instance, pressing a single button called “Watch TV” will turn on your TV, the receiver as well as the set top box, greatly diminishing the effort needed to switch on multiple devices each time you want to catch your favorite show.

Essential features of a good universal remote

Universal remotes are loaded with a variety of useful features and functions that make using your home electronics and gadgets easy and hassle-free. Some of the essential design elements that enhance the experience of using a universal remote are as follows.

Large buttons:

If you or a family member has trouble reading small font, buy a universal remote that has large buttons and a simple, uncomplicated design. Remote buttons that are easy to read make day-to-day usage a lot easier for different members of the family.

So opt for a remote design that’s simple and has an interface that’s easy to understand and follow.

Backlight:

Needless to say, remotes with back-lighting are a blessing when the lights are off. Many people watch TV and use media players late into the night when everyone else has gone to bed. A backlit universal remote is the device you want if you like gaming or watching movies with lights off.

So think about your usage, lifestyle and TV viewing habits when shortlisting a universal remote for your home.

LCD screen:

Some premium universal remotes come with an LCD screen or touchscreen and therefore cost more than the simple, basic models. However, the convenience that comes with an LCD-fitted remote is worth every extra dollar spent.

You get to scroll through the screen, much like you do with your smartphone. The elderly and children in your home will particularly find the touchscreen models very convenient to use.

Wi-Fi connectivity: A feature available with the high-end models, Wi-Fi connectivity allows you to use your universal remote to connect with a number of smart devices on the network.

If you’re someone who wants the best that technology has to offer, opt for a WI-Fi-enabled universal remote—it will make controlling your smart devices a breeze.

Lastly, consolidation remotes can cost anywhere between $25 and $350. When choosing one for your home, the goal should be to buy a device that has a user-friendly interface and can interact with most if not all of the electronics you use frequently, including all the components of your home entertainment unit.

Logitech’s Harmony line can be divided into two camps: remotes that work with a bridge, and standalone remotes that don’t. The bridge–called the Harmony Hub–is a single device that is bundled with remotes across the high end of Logitech’s Harmony line.

Think of the remote as merely an accessory that makes working with the Hub easier.The Hub plugs into wall power and works as a massive IR blaster.

It also relays Wi-Fi and Bluetooth commands, which means you can use Hub-capable remotes to control more than just the gear under your TV. If you want to use your phone as a remote control, purchase a system that includes the Hub.

BEST UNIVERSAL REMOTES

  1. Logitech Harmony 650/665
  2. Caavo Control Center
  3. Logitech Harmony Hub
  4. Logitech Harmony Companion
  5. Amazon Fire TV Cube
  6. Harmony Elite
  7. Logitech Harmony Express
NAMES FEATURES WHERE TO BUY
Logitech Harmony 650/665

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  • As simple as pushing a button
  • Replace up to 10 remotes
  • Bright, backlit buttons
  • Interactive help
  • Favorites at your fingertips
GET IT ON AMAZON
Caavo Control Center

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Here’s a full list of devices Control Center officially supports

  • DISH (all Hopper, Joey, and Wally receivers)
  • DirecTV (all network-connected devices)
  • XFINITY (X1 devices)
  • FireTV (all models)
  • Roku (all models)
  • Nvidia Shield TV
  • Apple TV with Siri Voice remote (Generation 4 or newer)
GET IT ON AMAZON
Logitech Harmony Hub

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  • One-touch Actions
  • Closed Cabinet Control
  • Custom Activities
  • Out of Home Remote
  • Universal Control
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Logitech Harmony Companion

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  • ONE-TOUCH ACTIONS
  • CUSTOM ACTIVITIES
  • UNIVERSAL CONTROL
  • REMOTE CONTROL
  • Alexa for Voice Control

 

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Amazon Fire TV Cube

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  • CPU             Hexa-core (Quad-core at up to 2.2GHz + Dual-core at up to 1.9GHz)
  • GPU          ARM Mali G52-MP2 (3EE), 800MHz
  • Memory (RAM) 2GB DDR4-2400 Mbps
  • Display             Up to 4K Ultra HD with support for HDR, HDR10, HDR10+, HLG and Dolby Vision
  • Resolution and refresh rates UHD 2160p @ 60fps 10-bit
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Harmony Elite

B01F5TT510

  • Universal smart remote with 2.4-inch touchscreen
  • Built-in rechargeable battery and dock
  • Supports Philips Hue, Nest, SmartThings, IFTTT and more
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
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Logitech Harmony Express

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  • Easy setup
  • Intuitive interface
  • Dedicated smart home buttons
  • Works with huge number of devices
GET IT ON AMAZON

 

Logitech Harmony 650/665

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Logitech Harmony wrote the book on the universal remote control devices, and these are its most basic clickers I can recommend. The main appeal over a cheaper, non-Harmony-based smart remote controller, or the device that comes with your set-top boxes, is the activity-based control.

Press the “Watch TV” or “Listen to Music” buttons and the remote controller turns on all the relevant devices (such as your smart TV, blu-ray player, and AV receiver), switches to the right inputs and maps the keys to that activity (Volume to the receiver and Channel up/down to the box, for example).

PROS CONS
  • Affordable
  • No Bluetooth or Wifi
  • Great Ergonomics
  • No Smart-home Connectivity

Caavo Control Center

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The Control Center ties together all of the various media devices under the average TV — receiver, cable box, streaming box, and even Blu-ray player — and allows you to seamlessly switch between streaming content and TV with voice commands. It is a very good remote control.

PROS CONS
  • Controls multiple devices seamlessly
  • Yearly fee should be bundled into the price
  • Voice control works well
  • No Dolby Vision support yet
  • Good cross-service search that works across devices
  • Forthcoming smart TV control is very basic

Logitech Harmony Hub

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Harmony Hub works with over 270,000 entertainment and smart home devices so you can enjoy single-touch control with your favorite brands, right out of the box. From your TV, cable and gaming console, to your AV receiver and Roku® media player—all the way to your smart lights, locks, thermostats, and even your Alexa—Harmony Hub proudly works with just about everything.

PROS CONS
  • Extensive device compatibility.
  • Requires an (expensive) extender for Z-Wave and ZigBee compatibility.
  • Excellent home theater support.
  • Slight learning curve.
  • Supports voice control via Amazon’s Alexa.

Logitech Harmony Companion

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Harmony Companion gives you convenient control over your home entertainment and smart home devices. Its streamlined button layout and full number pad make it a breeze to flip between content and devices. Plus, with the Harmony App, you can program your favorite channels, create multi-device Activities, and enjoy control when you’re away from home. Chaos. Meet Harmony Companion.

Harmony Companion works with over 270,000 entertainment and smart home devices so you can enjoy single-touch control with your favorite brands, right out of the box. From your TV, cable and gaming console, to your AV receiver and Roku® media player—all the way to your smart lights, locks, thermostats, and even your Alexa—Harmony Companion proudly works with just about everything.

PROS CONS
  • RF tech means line of sight isn’t needed
  • Those with complex home entertainment systems won’t find this remote powerful enough
  • Extensive configurability lets you tweak to your heart’s content
  • Programming process can be convoluted and time-consuming
  • Costly, but still a good value considering its power

 

Amazon Fire TV Cube

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The Amazon Fire TV is a convenient way to watch streaming content on your television, but if you were hoping to pick one up, you’ll have to do a little research first. After all, there isn’t a single, discrete product called an Amazon Fire TV — and there hasn’t been since 2014.

An Amazon Fire TV Stick or Cube can be a tremendously useful investment, especially if you’re stuck inside for an extended period of time. Not only can you watch TV and movies from Amazon, but you can also download a variety of other streaming apps, control your smart home with Alexa functionality and perhaps even enjoy a few decent games.

PROS CONS
  • Now has Dolby Vision
  • IR blasters are forever imperfect
  • Faster performance
  • Doesn’t make much sense if you have an Echo already
  • YouTube has returned
  • You’ll still need remotes around

Harmony Elite

B01F5TT510

The Logitech Harmony Elite is the most advanced universal remote you can buy without a custom installation, and comes with a hub that can control most of your smart home devices. Logitech’s Harmony line has been one of the biggest names in universal remotes for years, and it gets more and more advanced with every new version. The latest and most powerful iteration is the Harmony Elite, a bundle that combines the Harmony Hub and the Harmony 950 touch-screen universal remote.

PROS CON
  • Tons of supported home entertainment and home automation devices.
  • Expensive
  • App control.

Logitech Harmony Express

B07PPJMPQ3

The Logitech Harmony Express combines Amazon Alexa integration with a universal remote control, but ditches a lot of direct home theater functionality in the process.

The Harmony Express represents a pretty big change, stylistically and philosophically, from Logitech’s larger, older universal remotes. Gone are the rows of buttons and touch screens. Instead, the Express looks more like something you’d get with a Roku or Fire TV.

PROS CONS
  • Very easy to program
  • You’ll need the Harmony Elite to meld entertainment system control with smart home control
  • Combines Harmony’s vast code database with Amazon’s Alexa skillset
  • Won’t automatically discover all your hardware
  • Simple to master
  • Only supports one mini IR blaster

Conclusion

We have come to the end of this review, with this guide, you are covered, when you decide to go for the best Universal remotes. these remotes have been extensively reviewed, with their pros and cons, while choosing one, you should select the one that best suits the purpose you are buying it for.