The Best Universal Remote Control

The Best Universal Remote Control

Our pick

Logitech Harmony Companion

Logitech Harmony Companion

The best DIY universal remote control

The Harmony Companion can control eight AV components (including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices), doesn’t require line of sight to your gear, and can even control smart-home products.

Buying Options

$100 from Amazon

The two-piece Logitech Harmony Companion system, which consists of a hub and a handheld remote, can control up to eight AV components, and it works with IR, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth devices, which gives it more flexibility than is available with most budget remotes. You can also use a smartphone/tablet app to control your system. The Harmony Companion integrates with Alexa, Google Assistant, and several do-it-yourself home-automation hubs and smart devices, such as lights, locks, thermostats, and motorized shades. The remote lacks backlighting, and Logitech’s app-based setup can sometimes be frustrating, but this system still delivers the best combination of features, flexibility, and control that we’ve found for the price.

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Budget pick

Logitech Harmony 665

Logitech Harmony 665

A good budget remote

Easy to program and use, the Harmony 665 can control up to 10 AV components, and it has an LCD screen and a convenient help function—but it can control only IR devices and no smart-home devices.

Buying Options

$50 from Best Buy

If all of your devices can be controlled by standard infrared technology (as opposed to Bluetooth or Wi-Fi) and you don’t need smart-home control, the Logitech Harmony 665 is a great choice. It’s capable of controlling up to 10 AV devices, it features an easy-to-read, backlit color display, and the built-in Remote Assistant function is great for troubleshooting. If the remote fails to perform a task you expect it to (such as turning up the TV’s volume), you can use the remote’s Help button to resolve the problem quickly. However, because the Harmony 665 only works with IR-based equipment, it doesn’t support smart-home devices and some streaming media players and game consoles, and it needs line of sight with your gear.

Upgrade pick

Logitech Harmony Elite

Logitech Harmony Elite

For theater enthusiasts and serious smart-home tinkerers

Harmony’s flagship DIY remote supports up to 15 devices and has a customizable color touchscreen for maximum flexibility in controlling AV gear and smart-home devices.

Buying Options

$270 from Amazon

Like our top pick, the Logitech Harmony Elite is a two-piece system that uses the Harmony Hub, so you get all the same advantages. The Elite model controls up to 15 devices and adds a customizable touchscreen for even more flexibility. The remote is fully backlit and more responsive, with a nicer design that makes it feel more like the remote for a professionally installed control system—but all of that comes with a big jump in price. This is the model to get if you have a large and expanding home theater system and you want the best handheld remote.

Everything we recommend

Our pick

Logitech Harmony Companion

Logitech Harmony Companion

The best DIY universal remote control

The Harmony Companion can control eight AV components (including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices), doesn’t require line of sight to your gear, and can even control smart-home products.

Buying Options

$100 from Amazon

Budget pick

Logitech Harmony 665

Logitech Harmony 665

A good budget remote

Easy to program and use, the Harmony 665 can control up to 10 AV components, and it has an LCD screen and a convenient help function—but it can control only IR devices and no smart-home devices.

Buying Options

$50 from Best Buy

Upgrade pick

Logitech Harmony Elite

Logitech Harmony Elite

For theater enthusiasts and serious smart-home tinkerers

Harmony’s flagship DIY remote supports up to 15 devices and has a customizable color touchscreen for maximum flexibility in controlling AV gear and smart-home devices.

Buying Options

$270 from Amazon

Source: NY Times – Wirecutter

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