As the number of entertainment gadgets in our homes grows, so does the number of remotes. A coffee table full of remotes can get cluttered or disorganized, and losing a remote between the couch cushions is just plain frustrating. A universal remote combines the functions of multiple clickers into one device.
The best universal remotes allow you to control your devices with one simple clicker. They should be easy to program and simple to use. An intuitive button layout and straightforward setup is ideal. Device frequency is also an aspect to consider when choosing a universal remote. Most entertainment devices and remotes use infrared frequency (IR), but a handful of devices use radio frequency (RF).
The following top picks simplify your system, eliminating the need to rummage through a mess of clickers. Basic universal remotes control a handful of devices, like a TV, streaming device, and sound system setup. Other remotes can control an entire entertainment system of 20 or more devices. Advanced options can be voice-activated, and some can even control smart home features, like heating controls and electronic blinds.
Our Top Picks
The first step to finding a remote is to take note of the devices you need to control. For a small entertainment system, a simple, budget-friendly remote may do the trick. But to integrate devices around the home, including voice-activated or smart home devices, an advanced remote is ideal. If you’re shopping for a universal remote, consider one of the following options.
This universal remote from Philips pairs with their free MyTouchSmart app. The convenient app walks through an easy setup process that allows you to connect the remote to up to six devices. This remote is preprogrammed for use with Samsung and most Roku devices. For other brands, the app has an extensive remote code library that will allow you to easily pair with most IR devices. Keep in mind, this remote does not work with RF devices like the Roku streaming stick and Fire TV Stick.
Once paired with the app, this remote includes a handy “Find It” feature. When activated, this feature causes the remote to beep, making finding a lost remote less of a hassle. You can also change programming settings or contact customer service from the app. This remote has a specified eject button and streaming app shortcut button for instant access to these popular commands. The soft white LED backlight means you can use the remote easily in a dim room.
This affordable remote from GE pairs with up to four devices. Although it’s a budget-friendly pick, this remote has the flexibility and features of some pricier options. A soft blue LED backlight displays the buttons in dimly lit rooms. It also has a master volume control feature which allows you to adjust the volume regardless of the device selected.
With a comprehensive code library, this remote pairs with all major brands. It works with most IR entertainment devices, including streaming devices. This remote is easy to directly program by keying in the brand code on the number pad. It does not work with RF streaming devices, like the Roku streaming stick or Fire TV stick; however, it is preprogrammed for immediate use with other Roku devices and Samsung TVs. It’s available in five finishes, including silver, brushed black, gold, graphite, and rose.
If you don’t need the bells and whistles of a high-tech remote, this three-device remote is a basic and reliable pick. This simple clicker from RCA can be paired with up to three IR devices, and the number pad makes it easy to program the remote. Setup is simple with automatic, brand, manual, and direct code search features. This remote is preprogrammed for Samsung devices but works with most major brands.
The large buttons and partially backlit keys on this remote are easy to use. The remote includes three useful shortcut keys: one for the TV, one for the DVD/VCR player, and the last for satellite/cable/streaming devices. This remote is designed for quick and easy control of basic entertainment setups
With full IR and RF integration, this universal remote hub can control a wide range of devices. Beyond standard entertainment systems, it can also control RF devices like electronic blinds, lights, and more. Using the free Broadlink app, your smartphone becomes the hub remote. The app allows remote control of both IR and RF devices, even when you are away from home. With the app, you can set timers, triggers, and routines that combine multiple commands. For example, a timer can switch on the TV for an important show.
The hub also features a built-in temperature and humidity detector. With the trigger setting, the hub can turn off the air conditioner once it reaches a certain temperature. In addition, the hub has a voice control feature that pairs with Alexa or Google Assistant to enable voice commands. This versatile universal remote hub is an ideal pick for smart home integration.
This remote from Inteset is well suited for streaming device users. Controlling up to four devices, the four main shortcut buttons are preprogrammed for Apple TV, Xbox One, Kodi, and Roku devices (excluding the Roku Stick). Users can override the preprogramming to assign other devices if desired. This remote also has a macro programming setting, which allows the programming of a string of commands; an impressive 32 commands can be programmed into a single button.
This remote features a volume-lock and channel-lock option, which allow you to lock the settings to prevent accidental changes while using the remote. The remote has full LED backlighting for use in dim lighting. It also comes with a set of sticker labels to label the buttons for each function.
If you have an extensive entertainment system or are looking for a clicker to control several different gadgets, consider the SofaBaton U1 Universal Remote. This clicker can pair with up to 15 IR devices and is compatible with devices from more than 6,000 brands. If a device is not included in the database, the remote’s learning function allows pairing to new gadgets. A convenient smartphone app makes connecting with all of those devices a breeze.
With the push of one button, the SofaBaton can be custom programmed for up to 10 commands and will allow the programming of command timing. For example, a program option can turn on the TV first, then a streaming device second with just one click. This remote features a color OLED screen and scroll wheel for convenient switching between devices. Rather than navigating through buttons and menus, toggling between devices is as simple as a scroll and a click.
BroadLink’s RM4 Mini IR universal remote control hub supports over 50,000 IR controlled devices, from TVs to air conditioners. In addition to allowing your smartphone to act as a handy controller via BroadLink’s convenient app, when paired with Alexa or Google Assistant, this hub also allows for voice commands for a range of entertainment and smart home devices.
Don’t let this hub’s small size fool you: With features like custom timers and scenes and IFTTT (if this, then that) compatibility, this model packs a punch. The app also allows you to control a range of functions, even when you’re away from home. Whether it’s turning on the air conditioner or scheduling the TV to record a show, this universal remote gives you total control over your devices.