How to Find the Best Smart Remote for Your Home

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Credit: Flickr, Kumar's Edit

You might already have a smartphone, a smart TV, and a smart speaker in your home. But without the best smart remote for your situation, you’re not getting the most out of your tech.

We are all experiencing the continued technological advancements making almost every facet of our lives more convenient. While you might not give remote controls much thought, folks in the tech industry certainly have. And their advancements can make digital entertainment that much cooler in your home by way of the best smart remote.

Personally, I love TV. The most relaxing activity at the end of a long day has often included a remote in my hand. As technology has advanced, we’ve all seen these gadget become bigger and more advanced. But the phenomenon of smart remotes is changing the game entirely. After playing around with a few of the best smart remotes on the market today, we’ve compiled a list of our favorites.

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Beginning Your Search:

As with all technological products, it's essential to determine your needs and preferences. After all, you'll be spending ample quality time with a smart remote.

Why do you need the best smart remote?

Before we get too deep into the features, let’s talk about you. Remotes go far beyond volume and power control these days. So first, it might help to take a quick inventory of your digital life. What is it that you’d like to be able to control with one device? You might be surprised by the things on that list that the best smart remote can handle. If you stream content, you can find the best smart remotes for those tasks. There are others with a multitude of audio and visual features. Some will allow you to automatically adjust your lighting to match your entertainment! These are truly intuitive devices meant to complement the other smart tech in our lives.

What is the purpose of a smart remote?

Just like the initial ‘clicker’ invented to assist TV watchers of the day, smart remotes provide convenience. Obviously, the home entertainment landscape is much different than it was in the 1950s. But the best smart remotes keep up with the trends. The first remotes actually date back decades before television. In the late 1800s, inventor Nikola Tesla unveiled an operable wireless remote at the World’s Fair. It had multiple functions and plans for even more. Fast forward to the latter half of the 20th century and most people primarily associated them with TV. Just like the early days, though, modern remotes do a lot. Know that it's purpose is to incorporate itself seamlessly into your life with its many technological options.

Things to Consider When Shopping for the Best Smart Remotes

Just because the best smart remote might be packed with features, it's not necessarily right for you. Find a few of the key factors in the process listed below.

Price

Just as you will find in any segment of the tech market, prices for smart remotes vary wildly. But bargain hunters, beware: Not all smart remotes are created equally. There are some great options that won’t break the budget, though. It really all depends on what you expect out of your remote. You’re not going to control your whole house with a ​cheap smart remote. There actually are some decent options in that range and even below, though. So shop smart. Make sure whatever you buy is worth whatever price tag is on it.

Quality

In making some purchases, you might already know what brands you trust and why. In the smart remote market, thought, that can be a trickier proposition. There is some great craftsmanship and ingenuity in this segment. You just need to know where to look. Some of the brands on this list might be new to you, but you’ll probably be seeing them more. As the best smart remotes lead to more competition in the market, expect to keep seeing new options. Based on what is available right now, there are several clear winners.

Functions

Even if you find the highest quality remote on the market, it needs to do what you require. That’s where the biggest difference between these products is found. Some perform standards tasks with reliability and ease. If that’s what you’re looking for, it should be easy to find the right remote. Then there are options with seemingly limitless functionality. Be sure to get something that will meet your current and at least short term needs. But since tech moves so quickly, don’t plan too far ahead. You don’t need to jump on every trend out there. Even the coolest gimmicks are just that, and will soon grow stale.

The best smart remotes put control in the palm of your hand.

Deeply programmable and often controllable with your voice, there are few limits on these devices. Remote controls have long made lounging on the couch that much more leisurely. With the amount they can do now, you might have to set a reminder to get up. Here are some of our favorites.

1. Logitech Harmony Ultimate One

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Credit: Amazon

Here’s a spoiler: You’ll see Logitech show up a few times on this list. It’s hard to avoid this company when you’re shopping for smart remotes. And that’s a good thing. Leading the rapid expansion in the segment, Logitech has a stable of great smart remotes. This is a great example, which offers a touch screen interface on its operating pad. It can control up to 15 devices with widespread compatibility. You can find uses spanning 5,000 brands and a total of more than 225,000 different devices. The 2.4 inch screen gives simple instruction and offers easy interface. You can also add to the remote to provide advanced options. With the Harmony Hub expansion, you can control a host of additional smart home products.

2. Inteset INT-422

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Credit: Amazon

Here’s a best smart remote option for those with just a few devices to control. Inteset gives you easy access to up to four types of devices. You’ll have an array of commands available to attribute to each. And it is particularly innovative if you watch a lot of streaming content. These remotes are able to interact seamlessly with Apple TV, Xbox One, Roku and many other services. It does all that without any programming on your part. It works similarly well with other brands and products. Meanwhile, you’ll have all the control you want. One button can allow you to enact up to 32 separate commands. This is a powerful and best smart remote for a pretty low price.

3. Logtiech Harmony Elite

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Credit: Amazon

Logitech’s flagship smart remote easily ranks above the best on the market. The connectivity between this best smart remote and the devices it controls is unbelievable. Functions are available from anywhere inside your home and it controls up to 15 devices. You can also easily program some of your favorite functions. There’s a color touch screen that gives you access to controls with just one swipe. Select your favorite channels, volume settings and other features with ease. It also works with the Harmony Hub system, which makes your home operate in, well, harmony. The Harmony Elite belongs on anyone’s list of the best smart remotes currently available. It sets the standard for functionality and intuition. This best smart remote works with Amazon's Alexa and other smart devices. It truly is intelligent, and you’ll feel smart too when you’re using it.

4. Philips SRP5018/27

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Credit: Amazon

You could call this a budget entry into the best smart remote control market. That might sell it a little short, though. This gadget is packed with features. And it can easily handle the workload most customers would ask of it. Control cable, satellite, Blu Ray, streaming services and much more. All of it is housed in this attractive, easy to hold remote. Plus a pleasant back-light makes it a delight to use in the dark. There are a few features that require a setup. While it doesn’t have some of the cool functions of the others, it gets the job done. For most folks, this Philips remote is all they’ll ever need. If you’re looking for an all the best smart remote without any unnecessary frills, check it out.

5. Logitech Harmony Companion


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Credit: Amazon

Yes, another entry in the Logitech Harmony collection. It is geared toward those users who want to include controls for additional smart devices within this top and best smart remote. Some of the others in this line up have cooler features. This one does not have a touch screen or other interesting interfaces. But it gets several jobs done phenomenally well. You can monitor your smart home with this remote. It’s got compatibility not only with Alexa, but also Nest thermostats and other smart devices.

6. GE 33709

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Credit: Amazon

This GE entry might seem an unusual pick at first glance for a best smart remote pick. It looks like a standard universal remote that you might have seen at an electronics store a decade ago. And in many respects, it is. But there is still a big segment of the population without a need for all that tech. If you’re looking for a user friendly remote with several key functions, this is it. Of course, there are serious limitations compared to the remotes above. But it also costs a fraction of the price. It would be a great choice for a kids room and anyone with low technological demand. Those who recall the all-in-one remotes of a decade ago can rejoice. This remote represents the next generation!

The best smart remote can act as the next step in modernizing your home

The speed of technological advancement shows no sign of slowing down. And the arena of home entertainment has exploded in recent years. To stay on top of all the devices operating around your house, you probably need a smart remote. Here's hoping you won't jump at the first gadget claiming to meet all of your needs. In reality, the best smart remote might not look the fanciest. It might not even cost the most. But it will be right for your unique situation.

I hope you enjoyed our list of some of the best the market has to offer. When I began searching for something to tackle all of my needs, I was a bit overwhelmed. This list is designed to pare down the options to a few that will meet everybody's needs. If you found it helpful, please share this article with the tech fans in your life. Let us know in the comments below if you have a favorite smart remote.

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