Searching for the best universal remote is not an easy task. You will see most remotes are far away from being universal and limited to a few devices. On top of that, your remote may not support all the functions you want it to perform for your Apple TV or gaming console.
The point we are trying to make is that good universal remotes are scarce. You may find several brands in the market, but very few make a truly universal remote.
While we have a few promising manufacturers, the leading player in universal remote controls is still Logitech. The Harmony series of remotes has advanced features and the most intuitive experience current products offer.
Philips has also made its entry in the universal remote market but falls short of Logitech’s capabilities. However, Caavo is still going strong and provides an alternative to folks who don’t prefer Logitech.
We have picked the best 3 universal remotes for you based on features and budget. You can pick any one for a more leisurely life with less clutter and remotes.
Top-End Universal Remote: Logitech Harmony Elite
The Elite still rules the best universal remote control category with enough juice to control 15 devices. You can also command Alexa to pick your favorite channels and use a mobile app to program buttons.
Elite comes with a colored touch screen that helps users get context and navigate the learning curve. You also have physical buttons for those who like to punch numbers.
The Harmony Hub accompanies your universal remote to act as the command center. It can even pair up with your smart lighting system to make thunderstorms in movies seem more real.
Best of all, you can sync your Google Home devices and enjoy the most immersive experiences.
Elite sells for around $250 on the street and will cost more than some devices you pair it with.
Best Mid-Range Universal Remote: Caavo Control Center
Caavo is a big respite for people who feel lost using the Elite. It’s simple and has only a few buttons that let you control up to 4 devices. You also have an in-built voice search that’s more intuitive and accurate compared to Logitech.
The Caavo Control Center can be suitable for people who want to control limited devices. It can be ideal for the average customer who uses only one or two video sources like a DVD and a gaming console.
Interestingly, the Caavo hub acts as an HDMI switch and recognizes your active devices without effort.
The Caavo lacks a screen but makes up for it with a unified interface to search content. Additionally, this universal remote supports more streaming services like Sono.
Moreover, Caavo comes with personalized playlists, and you can also create your own.
You can buy the Caavo Control Center for around $60 but need to take a subscription to enjoy most features. The monthly fee is $4, while you can pay $40 for the whole year.
Caavo also sells a lifetime subscription for a one-time fee of $160.
Best Budget Universal Remote: Logitech Harmony 665
The Harmony 665 is an apt choice for budget-minded folks. It’s a better investment over cheap universal remotes and comes with a display to provide context. You can also easily switch between 10 supported devices using one button like Watch TV.
In addition, the Harmony 665 lets you program a maximum of 23 favorite channels.
Apart from 665, Logitech also sells a similar model, Harmony 650. Both the remotes have similar features, and you can choose any one of the two.
Harmony 665 or 650 comes without a hub. Therefore, you cannot point your remote at the roof and hope to lower your TV volume. It only works in a straight line of sight.
Additionally, you will have to program your remote via your PC, which can be cumbersome than using the app.
You will also have to keep replacing batteries as the ones inside are not rechargeable.
How to Select the Best Universal Remote Control
The number of buttons and features of universal remotes can make you confused. Should you go for the Logitech Elite, or the Caavo will fit our bills?
You first need to decide what you need to pick the right universal remote. Here are a few things to keep in mind to achieve your goals:
Number of Devices
You surely don’t need a remote that supports 10 devices when you only have a DVD and audio system. Therefore, base your choice for the best remote on the number of devices you need to connect.
Hub or Hubless?
Universal remotes with a hub are more powerful than those without one. You can hope to sync your smart home devices and experience a connected ecosystem.
Remotes without hubs are more basic and don’t support voice search or your dimmable LEDs. Plus, you have to point them right at your device as they work through IR.
The touchscreen on Elite is a big crowd puller. The remote is also nicely backlit and a charm to use in dark conditions.
However, these features drain more battery, and your remote will have to spend more time docked in the hub.
Universal remotes are not very user-friendly. You have to go through a learning curve for most remotes.
Additionally, programming remotes using PC software can be taxing. It is far easier to use a mobile app that comes along the Elite or Caavo.
The best universal remote control you can buy is either from Logitech or Caavo. You can go for the Elite if you want a high-end remote that controls everything. People who want an affordable choice can invest in Caavo and enjoy a degree of simplicity. However, if you’re on a budget, the 665 or 650 can suit your needs.