Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

The best universal remotes for 2023

Sofabaton U2 Universal Remote Control with App Customization, Macro Button for Multiple Commands, All in one Remote for TVs/DVD//Blu-ray/STB/Projector Replacement
SofaBaton U2
The best overall
Jump to details
SofaBaton X1 Universal Remote with Hub, All-in-one Smart Remote with APP Setting & One-Touch Activities, Works with Alexa, Compatible with 60+ IR & Bluetooth Devices TV/DVD/Blu-ray Player/Projector
SofaBaton X1
The best fully-loaded universal remote
Jump to details
GE Backlit Universal Remote Control (Model 48843)
GE Backlit Universal Remote Control
The best bare bones universal remote
Jump to details
One For All URC 7880 Universal Remote
One for All Smart Control 8 Universal Remote Control
Most powerful for infrared devices
Jump to details
Amazon Fire TV Cube 2022
Amazon Fire TV Cube
The best for voice control
Jump to details

For the average TV watcher, one remote is usually all you’ll need to control your AV system. That’s because a majority of households are still rocking cable boxes, and that set-top remote is typically capable of controlling the power and volume of a TV, soundbar, and sometimes even an AV receiver. Furthermore, certain streaming devices (Roku comes to mind) come with remotes that can have an additional component or two programmed into them. But sometimes that’s just not enough.

If you’re the owner of a monstrous home theater system with every AV component known to man, you might need a top-notch universal remote to control all of your equipment. In years past, Logitech's Harmony line was the go-to name for multi-device remotes, but it’s been a minute since the company shuttered the popular universal controllers. If you can find one, however, the company still supports them. That being said, there are still a number of reputable options out there, and we’ve rounded up some of our favorites in the list below.

SofaBaton U2

The best overall

Pros
  • Controls up to 15 different components
  • Ergonomic button layout
  • Includes SofaBaton app for iOS and Android
  • Relatively inexpensive
Cons
  • No Wi-Fi controls
  • Not as advanced as the SofaBaton X1

Now that we live in a world without Logitech’s much-lauded Harmony remotes (unless you’re able to find a refurbished or used model), SofaBaton is the next best thing when it comes to universal remotes. With a few different options available, the all-new SofaBaton U2 builds upon the excellent tech of its U1 model, the biggest change is the inclusion of multiple IR receivers. This allows the U2 to control your line-of-sight components from much farther distances. That being said, you’ll still need an IR extender if you plan on hiding gear in another room or behind closed doors.

The SofaBaton U2 is able to control up to 15 different devices at once, and you’ll also be able to copy-paste your settings into the SofaBaton app (for iOS and Android) if you’d rather control your system with your phone or tablet. And like the previous model, the macro button will let you program multiple commands to a chain of peripherals, so in event that you want to watch a 4K Blu-ray, all you have to do is launch the “Blu-ray” command and all of your necessary components will automatically power and switch inputs.

Sofabaton U2 Universal Remote Control with App Customization, Macro Button for Multiple Commands, All in one Remote for TVs/DVD//Blu-ray/STB/Projector Replacement
SofaBaton U2
The best overall

SofaBaton X1

The best fully-loaded universal remote

Pros
  • Controls up to 60 different components
  • Rechargeable USB-C battery
  • Can be used with Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Works with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and IR
Cons
  • Pricey
  • A little too advanced for some A/V setups

If your home theater system includes more than 15 components, with many of them hidden behind a faux wall that blocks all IR signals, check out the SofaBaton X1.

The SofaBaton X1 is the best fully-loaded universal remote you can buy these days, and we’re big fans of pretty much everything about it. You may notice that we feature both of SB’s most popular remotes in our roundup, and that’s because they’re both fantastic; but the X1 delivers just a little bit more in every single way. For starters, where the U1 could only program up to 15 devices, the X1 will store up to 60. All of the X1 buttons are backlit, a small consideration that is very absent on the U1 model. And as far as the display goes, the X1 has a better interface when compared to the U1.

You’ll also be able to connect the SofaBaton X1 to your home Wi-Fi, which will allow you to control your many components using both Alexa and Google Assistant; and the included SofaBaton hub will let you control devices that aren’t directly in sight. It’s one of the more expensive remote options out there, but if you’re looking for the modern end-all-be-all of peripheral power, this is the way to go.

SofaBaton X1 Universal Remote with Hub, All-in-one Smart Remote with APP Setting & One-Touch Activities, Works with Alexa, Compatible with 60+ IR & Bluetooth Devices TV/DVD/Blu-ray Player/Projector
SofaBaton X1
The best fully-loaded universal remote
The GE 48843 backlit universal remote.
GE

GE Backlit Universal Remote Control

The best bare bones universal remote

Pros
  • Simple operation
  • Backlit buttons
  • Easy, code-based programming
  • Dirt cheap
Cons
  • Only controls four devices
  • Can't learn missing commands
  • Infrared only

The GE Backlit Universal Remote does just enough, and sometimes that's all you need. This remote provides a straightforward way to control up to four devices using a host of pre-programmed codes while sporting a traditional design equipped with a basic D-pad and all of the most salient TV/media commands you could need.

If touchscreens and programming via a PC or mobile app feel too convoluted for your needs, the GE 48843 is a perfect choice: It's cheap — but not cheaply made — and it has everything you need to control your infrared devices.

GE Backlit Universal Remote Control (Model 48843)
GE Backlit Universal Remote Control
The best bare bones universal remote
One For All URC7880 Universal Remote.
One For All

One for All Smart Control 8 Universal Remote Control

Most powerful for infrared devices

Pros
  • Controls up to eight devices
  • Smartphone app-based setup
  • User-programmable macros
Cons
  • No Bluetooth control

One of the Logitech Harmony's best features was its ability to group device commands into activities — macros that could be executed with a single button. And while the URC7880 isn't nearly as easy to program as the Harmony family, it does give you that same activity-based, one-button access to macros, which is a huge convenience.

Those activities can combine commands from up to eight devices, which should be more than enough flexibility for turning on your TV, your Blu-ray player, and your A/V receiver and then setting them to the desired inputs and outputs. The only caveat is that there's no way to exert control over these devices if they aren't infrared-compatible — the URC7880 uses Bluetooth to talk to the One for All app on your smartphone, but for some reason, it can't pair with any other Bluetooth device, like a game console or streaming media device.

In addition to the five available activities, there are three shortcut buttons that can be programmed to access your favorite streaming media services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, or Disney+. And if any of your devices' infrared codes aren't stored in the One for All online database, you can use the URC7880's learning function to grab them from your original remote.

The companion app can even act as a remote finder if you manage to misplace the URC7880. Our only real complaint is that this unit doesn't have backlit buttons for easier navigation in darkened rooms.

One For All URC 7880 Universal Remote
One for All Smart Control 8 Universal Remote Control
Most powerful for infrared devices
amazon fire tv cube 2022 review main 1
Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

Amazon Fire TV Cube

The best for voice control

Pros
  • Directly supports cable/satellite set-top boxes
  • Same great Alexa integration
  • Fire TV OS is good, if busy
  • Incrementally better overall
Cons
  • Less simplicity with so many features

Yup, we know: The Amazon Fire TV Cube is not a universal remote. But hear us out on this one. What you may not know about the Fire TV Cube is that unlike all other Fire TV devices — and, frankly, unlike all other streaming media devices, period — it can control many of the other devices in your home theater. And you can use spoken commands to do it.

Buried within the Fire TV Cube's small box-shaped enclosure are a set of infrared transmitters. Just like any other universal remote, these can be programmed to emit IR commands for a huge variety of devices, including TVs, soundbars, and A/V receivers.

Within the Fire TV's interface, you can set up these devices, which can then be controlled using the Fire TV Cube's included remote, or for a true starship Enterprise experience, you can use your voice instead. Saying, "Alexa, open Netflix," can trigger the same sequence of commands as the Activities on a Harmony or One for All remote — your TV turns on, your A/V receiver turns on, and your Fire TV Cube opens the Netflix app. You're good to go.

There is one limitation: All of your devices must be IR-controllable. The Fire TV Cube has Bluetooth, but this is only used for pairing things like headphones and game controllers. However, if a device you want to control can be connected to your TV via HDMI, there's a good chance the Cube will be able to control it over HDMI-CEC anyway.

And because this is Alexa we're talking about, the Cube can also control any smart home devices you may want to use while watching a movie, like dimming smart lightbulbs or rolling down your motorized smart blinds.

Amazon Fire TV Cube 2022
Amazon Fire TV Cube
The best for voice control

Editors' Recommendations

Michael Bizzaco

Michael Bizzaco has been writing about and working with consumer tech for well over a decade, writing about everything from A/V components and smart home devices to encryption software, cloud backup platforms, search engine tools, and more. He has written for Digital Trends for over three years, covering entertainment content, A/V, and smart home devices.

Simon Cohen
Contributing Editor, A/V

Simon Cohen covers a variety of consumer technologies, but has a special interest in audio and video products, like spatial audio, whole-home music systems, wireless earbuds and headphones, 4K HDR TVs, and soundbars. He has written for Ozy.com, Mobilesyrup, Driving.ca, and VentureBeat, and appeared as a guest tech expert on international TV and radio programs, including BBC Radio, CTV News Channel, and CBC Radio. He is currently a full-time contributor to Digital Trends' Audio/Video section.

Best OLED TV deals: Save on LG C3, Samsung S90C, and more
LG's 2023 C3 4K OLED TV.

If you’re hoping to land some superior image quality with your next TV, an OLED TV is where we’d like to direct you. Both OLED and QLED picture technologies are at the top of the picture quality hierarchy, with OLED being the technology a lot of people favor. And while you might expect the highest quality image on the market to be priced as such, there are a lot of savings to shop on OLED TVs. In fact, the best OLED TV deals offer some serious savings, and we’ve rounded them all up. Below you’ll find all of the details on how to save, as well as some information on which OLED TV may be best for you.
Sony 55-inch Bravia XR A75L OLED 4K Google TV — $1,200, was $1,600

Sony is one of the most popular TV brands on the market, and it’s almost always among the best TV brands. Its Bravia lineup offers a range of features and sizes, with this 55-inch A75L offering a good balance of capability and affordability. You’ll get plenty of smart features with this TV, including built-in access to streaming services, perfect integration with PlayStation 5, and a processor that delivers wide dynamic contrast. You’ll also get OLED picture technology, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision, and even more technology that helps produce a great 4K image.

Read more
The 10 best short throw and ultra short throw projectors
The BenQ V5000i in a living room.

Deciding on which home theater projector to put in your house can come down to one little word: "throw." Long throw, standard throw, short throw, and ultra short throw (UST) are all types of projectors, and they all vary in terms of how much space or distance you need to project a big, beautiful, movie theater-like picture at home.

And while different manufacturers and screen makers vary on the distances needed for each, generally speaking, for a 100-inch image (diagonal), a long- or standard-throw projector could need anywhere from around 8 to 10 feet or more, a short-throw sits around the 3- to 5-foot range, and UST projectors require the least at anywhere between 3 to 20 inches.

Read more
The best soundbars of 2024: a sound upgrade for your TV
Close up of Sonos logo on a Sonos Arc soundbar.

TVs keep getting better and better, but audio still continues to be the weak link in even the best QLEDs, OLEDs, and traditional LED-LCDs. But this is why most TV companies, and many dedicated audio brands, make soundbars.

Even if you’ve never owned a soundbar before, setting one up on a new TV is one of the easiest plug-and-play processes. And the best part is as long as all your components are connected to your TV, your soundbar can handle audio for each and every peripheral, including things like streaming devices, game consoles, and even your gaming PC.

Read more