There are a number of factors to consider when buying a universal remote control today. The market is chock-full of various models from fully loaded, high tech, pricey units, to old school models that deliver basic services.
We compared the different remote models in order to come up with a list of the five best universal remote reviews around—according to features, price, functionality, etc.
1. Best value for money—Logitech Harmony 650
With its retail price at just $44, the Logitech Harmony 650 is currently Amazon’s best selling universal remote control unit. This model can work with as many as eight devices. With compatibility with an astounding 225,000 different electronic devices, it is conveniently easy to set up—just hook it up to your Mac or PC with the cable it comes with. The Logitech Harmony is basic, but comes is with a colored display window that doesn’t just show text, unlike its predecessors. For your basic needs, this is a smart buy all
2. Best Universal Remote That We Will Sorely Miss—Logitech Harmony Ultimate
We’ll miss this universal remote control model because unfortunately it’s been discontinued, which is a pity—BUT—according to Amazon, there’s still stock of the Logitech Harmony Ultimate available, so you might as
well get one while you can. This amazing model is really simple to use, compatible with your smartphone and setting up is a cinch—and at the moment, getting the remote together with the hub just costs $189 on Amazon, which is a great bargain, considering that if you buy from Logitech’s site you’ll end up spending at least a hundred dollars more if you want a remote that’s comparable to the Ultimate, along with the hub. What we like best about the Ultimate are the touch screen that makes controlling devices unbelievably easy (AND comes in
a nice size at 2.4 inches) and that charging its batteries is as simple as resting it on its cradle. And the hub has both infrared and Bluetooth capabilities. Pretty sweet deal, if you ask us.
3. Best Universal Remote Control for Kickin’ It Old-School Style—RCA Universal Remote
Okay, this is the one remote that isn’t from Logitech, and $10 is all you need for this model. Yes, you read that right. Ten Dollars. This is a completely old school, no-fuss, no-frills model that your tech-resistant grandparents or parents will recognize, not be afraid of, and actually use. Set up is so simple you can almost do it with your eyes closed. And the nice thing about it is that it’s got backlit keys on the remote, so it’s easy to use even in dark rooms. It is compatible with almost all TVs on the market, as well as commonly used cable boxes and even DVD players of various makes and models. But here’s the kicker, just like the Logitech Harmony 650, the RCA classic universal remote control model can actually be used with as many as eight
devices, which was shocking to us when we learned about it, because we didn’t think it could handle that many pairings. Anyone on a really tight budget will get their money’s worth from this remote over and over again. This RCA universal remote control needs two AAA batteries—which are not included in the price, because that would be a little too good to be true.
4. Best High-End Universal Remote Control—Logitech Harmony Elite
Yes, we’re back to Logitech, and this time we’re looking at Logitech Harmony Elite, the best of their high-end models, coming in at a little less than $280. Whew, that may be a bigger amount of money than many people are prepared to part with, but with the Elite you are able to direct the audio and video devices in your home using just your smartphone—which is really cool. It uses radio frequency, which means that you don’t even have to be in the line of sight of your devices in order to activate them—something that is also incredibly cool. Additionally, the Elite can manage up to fifteen separate devices and has some other sleek features on the remote itself.
5. The Best Universal Remote—Logitech Harmony Companion
With a fairly reasonable price tag of $124.99, the Harmony Companion is your best buy because it can also do what the Elite does, which is control your home devices via your Android or iPhone. And, like the Elite, it operates via radio frequency, which makes activating your devices unbelievably easy. It does not have the additional features of the Elite, but if you just need a system that allows you the ease and convenience of having your phone operate your home entertainment system—this is the remote for you.