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The best universal remote for 2022

The universal remote control is an amazing device if you have a serious home theater system – or even a semi-serious one with three or more components. While the immersive sound and giant screens are fun, it’s more confusing than convenient to manage an army of remote controls: TV remote, DVD player remote, game console remote, soundbar, streaming device and so on. If you have all these devices, a universal remote control can be a much needed gadget to make your job easier.

The best universal remote can unite all your remotes – the ones that control yours soundbarApple TV, Blu-ray player, Roku streaming device and more – all in one button wand in a way that can seem almost magical, especially since you never have to look for another remote.

All the best universal remotes have more intuitive buttons, better ergonomics and a better feel than standard remotes. Many remote control have apps that ensure they work with your mobile device, whether or not you have one AndroidiPhone or other smartphone. The universal remote can also work with smart devices and voice control systems such as Google Home or Amazon Alexa.

My family and I have used many of the smart remotes on this list as controls for my main home theater system for months or years. In various places to control my. many remotes on this list were used TelevisionsAV receivers, game consoles, Blu-ray players, Roku streamers, and even cable box DVR. My family uses the system as much as I do, and my main criteria are clever the universal remote control or the universal remote app make it easy for your child to operate, even when using all these buttons.

Here’s my pick of the best universal remote currently available, in ascending order of prices.

Update, April 2021: Logitech has announced it is disabling the Harmony remote linewhich is the majority of our recommendations below. However, the company is committed to continuing to support its product line and software updates.

Read more: Best Nest and Google Assistant devices for 2022

Logitech Harmony

Logitech Harmony has written a book about universal remote controls, and these are the most basic remotes I can recommend for a smart home. The main argument for a cheaper, smart remote not based on Harmony or a device that comes with set-top boxes is activity-based control. Press the “Watch TV” button to use it as a TV remote or the “Listen to Music” button and the Logitech Harmony remote will turn on all relevant devices (such as Smart TVBlu-ray player and AV receiver), switches to the appropriate inputs and assigns keys for this operation: for example, Volume to A / V and Channel Up and Down to Box.

Unlike the more expensive Logitech Harmony options that use a universal one remote control app on your phone for setup and control, you need to use the Harmony Mac or PC software to program the remote (needless to say, the remote app is more convenient). The 650 and 665 models also rely on IR (infrared) codes emitted from the front of the device – if you need convenience anywhere, you’ll have to spend on a hub system.

The 665 is the only smart remote currently listed on the Harmony website, but the 650 is identical (apart from the color and number of devices everyone can control) and can often be found for less, especially refurbished.

Read our Logitech Harmony 650 review.

You get price alerts for Logitech Harmony 650/665

Sarah Tew / topwatchbest

Caavo Control Center it’s one of two non-Harmony smart remotes on this list, as well as the second cheapest device at $ 59, but there’s a catch. To get Caavo’s advanced features, you need to pay for the service. It costs $ 4 a month, $ 40 a year, or $ 160 for the lifetime of the remote.

Unlike Harmony, Caavo Control Center includes an HDMI switch in addition to a smart remote. You plug your stuff into the switch and it does the rest, including automatically recognizing your hardware during setup. Caavo has its own intelligent voice control system and on-screen display to help you find things to watch on your streaming devices. The universal remote control device itself is simple and elegant and the remote finder is golden. Like the hub-based Harmonys below, the Caavo doesn’t require line of sight (the switch acts as a hub), and the remote will also work with voice command from Alexa and Google Home speakers in homes with multiple devices.

Read our Caavo Control Center preview.

Mari Benitez / topwatchbest

The hub is the only remote control device on this list that does not actually contain an actual physical remote device or buttons. Instead, you control everything with the Harmony smartphone app (Android or iOS) – or by talking to Amazon Alexa or Google Home. The smart hub itself sits deep inside the AV cabinet, sending infrared, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi network signals to your equipment. This Harmony smart control is a great system if you prefer the Harmony app, but for most people the investment in a real smart device (maybe one with a smartphone app) is worth the extra few dollars.

Sarah Tew / topwatchbest

My pick of the best universal remote for the money is the Harmony Companion, a true remote that is linked to the Harmony Hub. Since the Harmony Hub supports actually sending commands, you don’t need to aim your smart device at the infrared sensor and risk one of your devices not receiving a command – leading to confusion and delays. The Harmony Companion remote not only supports entertainment devices, the smart remote can also communicate with some home automation devices such as Philips Hue lights. The smart home appliance is neat and easy to hold, and the battery lasts for months. Over the years of using the Harmony Companion at home, the main things I missed were the backlight behind the buttons and the remote finder.

Read our Logitech Harmony Companion review.

Sarah Tew / topwatchbest

Crazy Cube is a combination of universal remotes, Fire TV 4K Streamer and Amazon Echo speakermaking it the king of smart home appliances. It does come with the device, but its buttons are rare and rudimentary: the real control of the device is by voice. The Cube has an infrared emitter to control the equipment and a microphone sensitive enough to hear your commands to the beat of the music. The downside is you’ll have to keep old remotes (even those that aren’t smart) for a lot of functions.

This universal remote control is often sold for as little as $ 80 or less, so definitely wait for the sale of this device – or First day – before buying.

Read our Fire TV Cube review.

Sarah Tew / topwatchbest

Now we are entering the territory of universal remote control with high expenditure. The highlight of the Elite Remote over the Harmony Companion is its screen, and for most users, it’s just not worth it. The touch screen makes this remote more versatile than the cheaper button models, especially for calling up your favorite channels or Roku apps, and the full backlight is great. Unfortunately, the touchscreen and backlight are energy-intensive, so you (and your family) will have to remember to regularly park your smart remote in the docking station.

Read our Logitech Harmony Elite review.

More recommendations for smart home and home theater

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