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The best universal remotes of 2018

Best Universal Remotes

The universal remote control is one of the most necessary technological developments home entertainment has seen in the last three decades, controlling your 4K TV, your A/V receiver, and even your streaming boxes in many cases. Still, even though we’ve seen many advances in the technology over the years, the universal remote remains imperfect.

Fortunately, companies like Logitech (which, frankly, dominates this list) and others have been hard at work to make a better all-in-wonder remote, and we now have better options now than ever before. The list of truly great universal remotes, however, is short and sweet. If you’ve been needing to consolidate a coffee table’s worth of silver and black wands, the following are the very best options on the market today.

At a glance

Product Category
Logitech Harmony 650 Best universal remote overall
Logitech Harmony Companion Best remote for the smart home
Logitech Harmony Elite Ultimate home theater remote
Sony RMVLZ620 Best barebones remote

Logitech Harmony 650

Our pick

Logitech Harmony 650

Why you should buy this: It handles just about all of your home theater needs at an unbelievably low price.

Logitech Harmony 650
The Logitech Harmony 650 does basically anything you need a remote to do at a price so low it seems like a mistake.

Who it’s for: Anyone looking to control their home theater without spending a fortune.

How much it will cost: $48

Why we picked the Logitech Harmony 650:

Your days of fumbling with complicated tech and tons of remotes are about to be over. The Harmony 650 isn’t the most advanced remote on our list, but its rich set of features, ease of use, and low price make it an easy choice for our top pick. This remote initially sold for $80, but can now be found for less than $35. You’ll need an internet-connected PC to get the Harmony 650 up and running, but once you do, intuitive buttons like “Watch TV” will execute multiple commands, powering up your television and cable/satellite box and switching the TV to the correct input in one fell swoop.

Logitech Harmony Companion

The best remote for the smart home

Logitech Harmony Home Control

Why you should buy this: It’s a perfect blend of power and simplicity.

The best remote for the smart home
Logitech Harmony Companion
Sure, it will control your home theater, but with Alexa built-in, the Logitech Harmony Companion can also control your smart home.

Who it’s for: Anyone looking to control their smart home from the comfort of their couch.

How much it will cost: $110

Why we picked the Logitech Harmony Companion:

The Harmony Companion is built for the 21st century. It lets you control up to eight devices at once, from Philips Hue lights and smart TVs to A/V components enclosed within cabinets, using either the included remote or the companion app for Android and Apple devices. It even features integration with Amazon’s Alexa. The physical clicker also sports a variety of activity-based buttons for everyday tasks, with robust customization and a marathon battery to match.

Logitech Harmony Elite

The ultimate home theater remote

best universal remotes logitech harmony elite

Why you should buy this: If it can be controlled by a remote, this will let you control it.

Logitech Harmony Elite
Logitech Harmony Elite
If you’re looking for the most feature-packed universal remote on the market, the Logitech Harmony Elite is among the top contenders.

Who it’s for: Anyone looking to control every single aspect of their home theater and smart home in one place.

How much it will cost: $277

Why we picked the Logitech Harmony Elite:

The most powerful remote on this list, it should come as no surprise that the Logitech Harmony Elite is also the most expensive. No, you probably don’t need this much remote, but if you want the ultimate all-in-one experience, this is where it’s at. Picking up where the Harmony Companion leaves off, the Elite adds a built-in, full-color touchscreen so you won’t need to turn to your phone for precise control nearly as often. The full package includes the Elite remote, the Harmony Hub, two IR mini-blasters to control components out of line-of-sight, and a charging station to keep the remote ready to go at all times.

Sony RMVLZ620

The best barebones remote

Sony RMVLZ620

Why you should buy this: It does just enough, and sometimes that’s all you need.

The best barebones remote
Sony RMVLZ620
If you don’t need all the bells and whistles, Sony’s RMVLZ620 will handle the basics without overwhelming you with options.

Who it’s for: Anyone looking for a universal remote to handle the basics and nothing more.

How much it will cost: $31

Why we picked the Sony RMVLZ620:

The Sony RMVLZ620 thrives in the bare essentials (and has done so for years). The remote provides a straightforward way to pair up to eight devices using a host of pre-programmed codes while sporting a traditional design equipped with a basic D-pad and backlit, rubberized buttons. It even provides 12, one-touch macro buttons and a learning function for relaying command information from discontinued remotes.

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