Let’s be honest, remote controls are a vital part of most people’s technology experience. The right remote control can make using your favorite technology a breeze. There are several characteristics to look for in any remote control. This includes easy programming, simple to read buttons and a universal design that can be programmed exactly to fit your unique pieces of technology.
We spent hours rating and comparing different remote controls to determine which products are the best in the market. Based on our aforementioned criteria, we found a few elite remote controls for you to consider, but rated the Logitech Harmony Elite as our best overall remote control.
Remote Control Buying Guide
Ready to buy a new remote control, but not sure where to start? There are so many different considerations to take when shopping for a new universal remove control, and a great deal of the buying process all comes down to finding what works best for you and what you need. Everyone has different types of tech in their homes, which is why finding the right universal remove is such a personal process.
While there is a “right” universal remote for everyone, we have still created a detailed buying guide that can help you better choose the right universal remote to meet your needs—no matter what it is that you are looking for in your new device.
Why Choose a Universal Remote to Begin With?
Before you start shopping for a new remote control, it is important to understand why you will be buying one of these remote controls in the first place. A new universal remote can not only replace a lost remote, should you misplace your existing television clicker, but it can also consolidate all of the remotes that you currently have, so you don’t have as many to keep track of.
This means a single device can control everything from your TV and your cable box to your surround sound system and you can program the remote to actually simplify many of the startup processes involved with your entertainment system—making easier for you and your guests.
Beyond a Replacement: What Else Can These Remotes Offer?
There are many people who will buy new remote controls to replace their existing lost or broken remote control. This can be a much more budget-friendly alternative than replacing an entire TV, DVD player or surround sound system. However, today’s universal remote controls offer more than just a replacement option. These remotes can actually do much more when it comes to your home technology.
They can actually save codes for carious devices thanks to their included programmable memory. In short, your new remote can easily communicate with a number of different gadgets such as Blu-Ray players, televisions, gaming devices and more. This is why if you have a larger entertainment system in your home, you will need to look for a remote that can work with plenty of different devices at once. This is one of the first things you will likely see with any universal remote—how many devices they can work with. Some may work with 4-5 devices at once, while other more advanced remotes can work with up to 20 different pieces of technology at a time.
Pre-Programmed vs. Learning Remotes
One of the major differences you will notice between remotes, is that there are both learning remotes and pre-programed remotes. Learning remotes can be modified to work with a number of different devices and they can actually learn and mimic signals from existing remotes. However, with learning remotes, you will need to be able to take the time to “teach” your new device about all of the functions they need to be able to do. This takes a little work and a little bit of tech savvy, but it can be a great option for those who have a lot of devices they want to coordinate at once.
There are also pre-programmed remotes as well. These are typically much more affordable than the learning remotes and can typically work with a couple of different device at once from major brands. These remotes will not be able to work with any smart home technology and will only work with basics like televisions and DVD players. All you need to do is access the device’s codebook and enter the codes that coordinate with your TV or DVD player into the remote’s keypad, and it will automatically bring all of the settings over. While there isn’t much room for customization—this is a great way to consolidate many of your existing remotes and get your major entertainment devices all operating with a single control.
Other Features to Look for in a Universal Remote
As you start shopping for universal remotes, chances are you will start to notice just how many different options there are out there. While it is important to understand their common uses, there are a few additional things that you should look for when shopping for a universal remote.
Many universal remotes come with LC touchscreens on them. These help make the remotes operate more similarly to a smartphone than your everyday remotes. In remote controls that offer this touchscreen capability, you can fully customize your remote and all of your buttons so you are only accessing the controls that you really need. This helps bring a more personalized experience to your remote control.
Some of the more advanced universal remotes available today, don’t just have a number of features on the remote, but they also come with their own apps as well. This provides even more accessibility with your remote and when you connect to your home Wi-Fi, you can access even more customization or even control your entire entertainment system right from your tablet or smartphone.
Smart Home Functions
If you have a remote that also has a Wi-Fi connection, you can actually access smart home functions from your device. This means that those popular home automation devices for your lights and thermostats, can actually be programmed right to your remote control.
Number of Chanel Presets
This is one of the biggest things that people tend to look for when shopping for a universal remote. These remotes can be customized to include a number of channel presets, so you can program your remote to feature all of your favorite channels and commands. Not all remotes have the same amount of flexibility, so it is important to pay attention to what each device offers, if this is important to you.
There are many remotes today that can instantly plug into your personal computer through a USB port. With this feature, instead of having to enter codes into a key pad and look for flashing lights to indicate your remote is working—you can quickly and easily set up your remote right on your laptop. It also makes it simple to download command codes and update the remote’s database.
The right remote control can make operating your entire entertainment system a breeze. However, with so many remote controls available today, it is important that you take the time to shop for a device that really meets your needs. If smart home capabilities are important to you, then it may be wise to invest in a more robust universal remote. However, if you simply want to replace the lost TV remote that you cannot find—then one of the more simple remotes may be best for you. Either way, considering these top picks on our list is a great way to make certain that you are getting the remote that you need for your home.