There are so many devices nowadays. Chances are you’ve got at least four connected to your big TV screen. You might have your Apple TV, cable, a remote for your soundbar, as well as the master remote for the TV itself. In short, it’s complicated — almost too complicated.
That’s where universal remotes come in. The devices consolidate all of your individual flickers into one — meaning you don’t have to cycle between multiple remotes every time you sit down.
There are many reasons to get one. The inevitability of one of your remotes slipping down the side of the couch. The overall convenience — universal remotes put everything on the TV in one spot, allowing you unprecedented control from a single often-touchscreen device.
And then there are the extra perks that come with them; most on this list come with Bluetooth and WiFi, and also have applications that sync automatically to Spotify, Apple TV, Roku, or Amazon — among others.
Ranging from cheap to fancy, here are five of the best.
1. Logitech Harmony Elite
Logitech’s Harmony claims to “let peace reign supreme.” The most popular of the company’s numerous universal remotes is also among its most well-rounded. The Harmony connects with over 270,000 entertainment and smart home devices. It’s worth noting, though, that a number of Logitech devices work with all electronics in your home. From turning off lights to closing your electric blinds, the Harmony can control everything to create a perfect movie-going experience. There’s also an unlimited number of devices that the remote can work with, meaning you can manipulate as many, or as few, electronics as you wish. To top everything off, it’s all voice activated, which is both very cool and very easy
2. SofaBaton U1
The SofaBaton functions as one of the most bare bones entrants in the category. Paired with a user-friendly app, the U1 can connect with hundreds of thousands of devices, in a constantly updating database to make sure it’s up to speed with the latest technology. The helpful scrolling mechanism on the remote is an intriguing alternative to the touch screen, and allows the user to cycle between apps with ease. While it doesn’t cover other electronic devices like some of its more expensive counterparts, for ease of use and reliability, the SofaBaton is very hard to beat.
3. Sevenhugs Smart Remote
The Sevenhugs remote serves as an interesting competitor to the Harmony. And in some ways, it might be better. It’s entirely touchscreen, with an interface not dissimilar to your average smartphone. It’s smooth, sleek, and has less fussy buttons than a Logitech model. Like a Logitech, it also allows you to control lights and other electronics in your house. It has customizable settings, too, that allow you to set a certain mood, or tailor electronics for a given scenario. For example, you can set your house to “movie night” in a click of a button: dimming the lights and turning the TV to its DVD player input.
4. Caavo Control Center
The Caavo Control center functions a little differently to a lot of the remotes on the market. Rather than connecting with an app or Bluetooth, the control center is a physical machine where users plug in their devices. Though being a wired connection, it offers real advantages in interface and ease of use. The Caavo uses effective voice control to allow users to shift between applications with ease, as well as issue basic commands. While only being able to connect to four devices is something of a disadvantage, the Caavo is a solid and reliable option for a standard TV set-up that perhaps only has 4 or 5 machines.
5. Universal Remote Control MX-990
URC doesn’t look as futuristic or sleek as some others on this list, but its functionality can compete with most on the market. It’s simple, easy to use, and looks enough like a traditional remote to feel like an upgrade on your clutter of 6 random controllers lying around. The screen shows six devices at once, allowing users to cycle between inputs easily. It also functions with the standard slate of streaming services and other inputs. Another perk is that it connects with up to 48 devices at the same time, and doesn’t need an app to set up. Though it might not look as fancy as a Logitech or Sevenhugs, the URC usability and practicality are among the best available.