How To Use a Universal Remote (And Which One To Get)

best universal remote

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Outfitting your home with tech that makes your life easier is great, but one thing that doesn’t make life easier is adding yet another remote to your collection with each new purchase. Sure, your sound system sounds great, your TV can play any digital channel or subscription service, your thermostat and lights are smart and your gaming console is fun to use, but if you don’t have room to actually put a cup of coffee on your coffee table because it’s turned into remote control island, it’s time for a universal remote.

We’ve all done the intricate dance of placing our remotes in a row and attempting to remember the specific order they need to be turned on in order to access the TV, speakers, and cable box. This can work for a while until you try to give house guests step by step instructions on how to use the TV when you’re not home and are met with a glazed expression. Rather than take out a second mortgage just to cover the cost of batteries to keep all your remotes working, get a universal remote that can control your entertainment system.

If you’re an Alexa user and have outfitted your home with smart technology, like the Nest Thermostat or the Philips Hue Lights, you can control these devices from the same remote that turns on your stereo, your TV, your Amazon Fire Stick, your Xbox, and more thanks to universal remotes that are designed specifically to work with smart homes.

Universal remotes are a great way to make life easier, with the ability to control all your devices with a single unit meaning that you no longer must learn how to program multiple remotes for various gadgets. Whether you’re setting up your first home or helping an elderly relative make watching their favorite shows more enjoyable, universal remotes make everyone’s life run a little bit smoother.

1. Logitech Harmony 650 Infrared All in One Remote Control

The only remote on our list with a bright color screen to make it easy to move through the various modes, the Logitech Harmony is activated with simple one-touch technology. Want to watch a DVD? Simply push ‘Watch a DVD’ on your remote. In addition to the screen, pros of the Logitech Harmony include its compatibility, which includes 225,000 devices from over 5,000 brands. The remote does require Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8, Mac OS X 10.6 or later for set-up.

best universal remote Image courtesy of Amazon

2. Logitech Harmony Companion All in One Remote Control

Unlike the Logitech Harmony, which controls the entertainment system, the Logitech Harmony Companion can control the entire home, including all smart features that work with Alexa. Lower your blinds, change the temperature on your Nest Thermostat, dim the lights on your Philips Hue Lights and control your entertainment system all from the same remote. It can even control gaming consoles and DVD players that are behind walls or in cabinets. With the ability to control up to eight devices, the Logitech Harmony Companion isn’t worth the high price tag for those who just want to control their TV but is a game changer for smart homeowners. Users must have Alexa to make the Logitech Harmony Companion work, with setup requiring the use of a computer or smartphone app.

best universal remote Image courtesy of Amazon

3. Universal Remote Control for All Samsung LCD LED HDTV 3D Smart TVs

The remote can directly access digital stations, features media playback, and requires no programming. Pros of the remote include its price and long-lasting ability, but if you’re looking for a remote that does more than controls your TV, check out the Logitech Harmony or Logitech Harmony Companion.

Universal Remote Control for All Samsung LCD LED HDTV 3D Smart TVs Image courtesy of Amazon