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The best universal remotes: Control your smart home theater

What is the best universal remote? The Logitech Harmony Elite is our number one pick. We determined the top universal remotes through analysis of specs including size, weight, number of devices, price, usability, battery life, smart home compatibility, voice control options, and more to find the best recommendation for your home theater.

As technology continues to progress, there are more and more devices being used in daily life -- and more devices means more remotes. It's not uncommon to have a remote for your TV, cable box, streaming device, and sound system. That's only considered a basic setup for most home theaters. With the rise of streaming over the years, along with the uptick in binge-worthy shows, home theater setups are booming.

Most people have been spending more money improving their home theater, and with that will come many new remotes. Instead of trying to juggle all these different remotes for different devices, why not program one single remote to control them all? This list contains the best universal remotes available in 2022. 

Logitech Harmony Elite

Best universal remote

Logitech Harmony Elite

If you're looking for the best universal remote, then this model is the winner. Despite being introduced in 2017, the Logitech Harmony Elite has been top-of-the-line since hitting the market.

The dimensions of this remote are 7.6 x 2.1 x 1.1 inches with a weight of 5.8 ounces and it comes with a battery charging dock. There are three distinct features that help to separate this remote from the others on this list, with two of them being positive and one being negative. The two positive traits are that this remote has a touch screen, which makes it much more versatile than standard buttons, and it can control up to 15 different devices, which should be more than enough to cover most home theaters.

The only negative -- but it's a relatively big one -- is the price. You should expect to spend somewhere between $300 and $500 for this remote. While that price is a little high, it's unlikely that you will find a better option any time soon. 


  • Activity-based controls
  • Alexa enabled
  • Can control 15 different devices
  • Dedicated smart home control buttons
  • Doesn't require line of sight to work
  • Easy to set up
  • Enables 50 favorite channels
  • Mobile app
  • Touchscreen with full backlighting
  • User-friendly and intuitive interface


  • Expensive
  • Must be docked often to charge 

Logitech Harmony 665

Best Logitech for less

Logitech Harmony 665

This universal remote is basically the much more cost-friendly version of the Logitech Harmony Elite. The Harmony 665 is 10.8 x 1.6 x 2.8 inches and weighs 7.2 ounces, so it's a little bigger and heavier than some of the other options, but still fairly comfortable to use.

This remote comes with a small display -- not a touchscreen -- and backlit buttons, making it easy to navigate and use. However, one of the biggest disadvantages is that it uses infrared codes in order to control devices, meaning you will have to leave the control boxes of your devices visible, and this remote may not work on newer technology that requires Bluetooth or Wi-Fi communication.

One of the best attributes of this remote is its price tag. At just $100, this is one of the more cost-friendly pieces on this list. While it may have some limitations compared to other choices, if you are simply looking for a remote that can control multiple devices easily, without spending a few hundred dollars, this is a very solid option. 


  • Activity-based controls
  • Backlit buttons
  • Can control 10 different devices
  • Comfortable and easy to use
  • Enables 23 favorite channels
  • Low price


  • Non-rechargeable battery
  • No mobile app requires Mac or PC to program
  • No smart home controls
  • Not Alexa enabled
  • Works on infrared readers only 

SofaBaton U1

Best budget-friendly

SofaBaton U1

Probably the best overall value is found in this universal remote option. At 7.7 x 1.9 x 1.1 inches and weighing 5.4 ounces, this device is middle-of-the-pack in terms of size and weight. While it may not come with a lot of the fascinating features that some other options on this list do, it will get the job done and for a reasonable price. Costing around $50, this remote is the cheapest on this list, but it can still control up to 15 devices and works both on infrared reading and Bluetooth. 

Additionally, the app-based setup will help get it set up faster than some of the other options.


  • App-based setup
  • Can control 15 devices
  • Connects via Bluetooth
  • Great price


  • Doesn't connect with Wi-Fi
  • Lacks activity buttons
  • Remote isn't backlit
  • Requires batteries

Universal Remote Control MX-450

Best for many devices

Universal Remote Control MX-450

This universal remote can control up to 18 devices, making it the most versatile option on our list. The device's color screen has three main pages, and each device you add on can add up to eight pages. 

With up to 100 feet of range, this remote can control your devices from afar. In addition, you can program multiple commands from a single button to customize how you use the remote. Just be mindful that since there are lots of customized commands and up to 18 devices you can connect to it, it might take some time to fully program and set up this remote.


  • Can control 18 different devices 
  • Color display screen
  • Up to 100-foot range 


  • Expensive 
  • Older design
  • Takes a long time to program 

GE 33709 Universal Remote

Best for the basics

GE 33709 Universal Remote

If you are looking for a plain and simple universal remote, then this is the one. While it doesn't contain any of the incredible features of the other options on this list, it doesn't have the hefty price tag either. At 7 x 2.24 x 1 inches and weighing 3.2oz, this is one of the smallest and lightest remotes on this list.

While this remote will only control four options, it can control a wide variety of TVs, Blu-ray players, sound systems, and even some streaming services. Its simple design includes directional buttons for navigation, volume, and channel controls, as well as the standard number pad. Perhaps the most important detail is this remote can be purchased for around $5 to $10. 


  • Cheapest option
  • Easy to use
  • Simple design


  • Basic options
  • No special features
  • Only controls four devices
  • Requires programming codes to pair with devices

What is the best universal remote?

The Logitech Harmony Elite is the best universal remote based on our analysis of features including price, weight, smart home compatibility, number of devices supported, and more. 

Are universal remotes worth the money?

This answer depends solely on the complexity of your home theater setup. If you only have two remotes then no, bundling them together is probably not worth the money. However, if you have more than five remotes, and use them often, then a universal remote will pay for itself in no time.

Can I use an app on my phone as a universal remote?

The short answer to this question is yes, you can use your phone as a universal remote. It might require the purchasing of some more equipment, but since your phone uses infrared signals -- just like plenty of other electronic devices -- it is entirely possible. The setup will probably be more complex than using a universal remote, but it might save some money. 

Which is the right universal remote for you?

It's hard to argue against the Logitech Harmony Elite being the best universal remote out there, but with such a high price you may be hard-pressed to justify buying it. If you have the budget for it, then it's definitely the superior option on the list. However, the best overall value is probably the SofaBaton U1. It can connect with several different devices and is the best-priced. It should be more than enough to get the job done.



# of devices controlled

Special Features

Logitech Harmony Elite



Touch screen, Alexa enabled, mobile app

Logitech Harmony 665



Small display, allows you to save up to 23 favorite channels

SofaBaton U1



App-based setup, connects via Bluetooth

Universal Remote Control MX-450



Color display screen, 32MB of memory

GE 33709 



Can control some streaming services

What should I look for in a universal remote?

The most important factors when looking for a universal remote will vary for each person, but overall it will come down to three different categories: the amount of compatible devices the remote will work with, the overall number of devices that can be controlled by it, and the features of the remote itself. 

Buying a universal remote that doesn't pair with certain brands or types of technology will severely hinder how effective it will be to you. Additionally, if you have a dozen devices that need to be paired, but the remote can only handle five, then it's a waste of money. In the event that you have a few remotes that are evenly matched, then the deciding factor should be features such as a touch screen, voice control, or automatic pairing. 

Are there alternative universal remotes worth considering?

Here are a few other options to look into: