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Control your smart home theater with these best universal remote

Instead of having a coffee table full of different remotes, a universal remote gives you one point of contact to control all your devices. The best ones control multiple devices, allow you to program your favorite channels, and much more.
Written by Bridget Reed, Contributing Editor and  Sean Jackson, Contributor
Reviewed by Amy Lieu
SofaBaton U1 | Best universal remote overall
SofaBaton U1
Best universal remote overall
View now View at Amazon
Logitech Harmony Elite | Best splurge universal remote
Logitech Harmony Elite
Best splurge universal remote
View now View at Amazon
Universal Remote Control MX-450 | Best universal remote for many devices
Universal Remote Control MX-450
Best universal remote for many devices
View now View at Amazon
GE 33709 Universal Remote | Best universal remote for the basics
GE 33709 Universal Remote
Best universal remote for the basics
View now View at Amazon
Fire TV Cube | Best smart home universal remote
Fire TV Cube
Best smart home universal remote
View now View at Amazon

As technology and consumer electronics continue to progress, there are more and more devices being used in daily life -- and more devices mean more remotes. It's not uncommon to have a remote for your TV, Apple TV, cable box, streaming device, game console, 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?

Also: The best TVs

Pros & Cons
  • App-based setup
  • Controls 15 devices
  • Connects via infrared Bluetooth
  • Great price
  • Lacks activity buttons
  • Remote isn't backlit
More Details

Features: Control up to 15 devices | Bluetooth compatible | OLED Display

Probably the best overall value is found in this universal remote option, making it our top pick. 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 reasonably low 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 connectivity. 

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

Pros & Cons
  • Activity-based controls
  • Dedicated smart home control buttons
  • Touchscreen with full backlighting
  • User-friendly and intuitive interface
  • Expensive
  • Requires docking for charge
  • Discontinued by manufacturer
More Details

Features: Control up to 15 different devices | 50 favorite channels | Mobile app: Android & iOS

Despite being discontinued by Logitech in 2021, you can still purchase the Logitech Harmony Elite universal remote at select retailers and the company plans to continue to maintain the Harmony database and software; therefore, it still earns a spot on our list. 

The dimensions of this Harmony 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 over $500 for this remote. While that price is a little high, it's unlikely that you will find a better option any time soon. 

Pros & Cons
  • Controls up to 18 devices
  • Color display screen
  • Up to 100-foot range
  • Expensive
  • Older design
  • Takes a long time to program
More Details

Features: Controls up to 18 devices | 48 favorite channels | 100-foot range

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.

Pros & Cons
  • Cheapest option
  • Easy to use
  • Simple design
  • No special features
  • Controls 8 devices
  • Requires programming to pair to devices
More Details

Features: Controls up to 8 devices | 32-foot range | Backlit numbers

If you are looking for a plain and simple universal remote to watch TV and movies, 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 eight options, it can control a wide variety of smart TVs, Blu-ray players, sound systems, and even some streaming services like Netflix or Hulu. Its simple design includes directional buttons for navigation, volume, and channel controls, as well as the standard number pad with backlit numbers. Perhaps the most important detail is this remote can be purchased for around $10. 

Pros & Cons
  • Supports Dolby Atmos audio
  • 4K Ultra HD content
  • Personalized profiles, recommendations, and viewing history
  • Controls only one TV
  • Not compatible with all TV brands
More Details

Features: Controls compatible soundbars and A/V receivers | Built-in Alexa voice control | 16GB of storage

This all-in-one media player replaces the need for a remote and lets you use your voice for commands instead. It has 16GB of storage and supports Dolby Atmos audio and 4K Ultra HD video. You can even utilize Alexa commands when the TV is off to check the weather or turn off the lights.

While the Fire TV Cube acts as a one-for-all universal remote replacement for most TV brands like Samsung, Sony, LG, Toshiba, TCL, RCA, and VIZIO, it isn't compatible with all brands, so check here to see if your TV will work with the Fire Cube. 

What is the best universal remote?

The best overall universal remote is the SofaBaton U1 since it can connect with several different devices and is the best-priced remote for all of its included features. 



# of devices controlled

Special Features

SofaBaton U1



App-based setup, connects via Bluetooth

Logitech Harmony Elite



Touch screen, Alexa enabled, mobile app

Universal Remote Control MX-450



Color display screen, 32MB of memory

GE 33709



Can control some streaming services

Fire TV Cube 


1 TV at a time

Alexa enabled, 16GB of storage, Dolby Atmos audio, and 4K Ultra HD video

Which is the right universal remote for you?

Before purchasing a universal remote, it's important to consider a few factors, such as how many devices you want to control, what kind of special features (if any) you want it to have, and what price you're willing to spend. Any options on this list are great picks -- it just depends on if you're looking for a simple universal remote or a more high-tech one. 

Choose this universal remote...

If you want...

SofaBaton U1

The best overall option. 

Logitech Harmony Elite

To splurge on a universal remote. 

Universal Remote Control MX-450

A remote that controls up to 18 devices. 

GE 33709

A no-frills universal remote with basic controls.

Fire TV Cube

An Alexa-controlled media player that replaces a physical remote.

How did we choose these universal remotes?

We chose these universal remotes after extensive research. We compared factors like pricing, reviews (both good and bad), different features that make each universal remote stand out, and how many devices each universal remote can control. 

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. 

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 number 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 factors should be features such as a touch screen, voice control, or automatic pairing. 

Can you use a universal remote on Roku TV?

Yes, you can set up your universal remote to work on Roku TV. Check out this helpful guide from Roku with detailed instructions. 

Are there alternative universal remotes worth considering?

Here are a few other options to look into: 

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