universal remotes with voice control

7 Best Universal Remotes with Voice Control in 2020

In Recommendations by Tim Brennan2 Comments

Alright Buck Rogers, so you want the scoop on the best universal remotes with voice control. We get it. Searching around in the bowels of your sofa or favorite E-Z chair among the crumbs for that ever-elusive remote does get tiresome. Fear not!  In this post, we review seven brilliant universal remotes with voice control that are all compatible with Amazon Alexa.  Most are compatible with Google Assistant, too.

Editor’s Choice

best universal remotes with voice control

The best universal remote with voice control is the Logitech Harmony Elite. The Elite will let you consolidate up to 15 remotes, it supports Logitech’s vast database of 270,000 devices from 5,000 brands, and it offers plenty of commands to control both TV and smart devices using Alexa and Google Assistant.

Plus, you get a great physical remote too. Amazon Fire TV is a solid runner up, but it only works with Alexa.

View at Amazon


Top 7 Universal Remotes with Voice Control

In the table below, you can compare some of the best universal remotes with voice control around today.  The table provides a summary to help to guide you through the main remote features. We provide detailed summaries and a buyer’s guide below.

Name and FeaturesImageScorePrice
1. Logitech Harmony Elite (Editor's Choice)
The best remote you can buy with a ton of features to control TV and smart devices.
0%
Check Price
Read Our Review
2. Amazon FireTV Cube (Runner Up)
Huge selection of Alexa commands plus 4K Ultra HD streaming media player
0%
Check Price
Read Our Review
3. Logitech Harmony Express
This is Logitech's latest remote with Alexa built right in. The remote iteself is a bit weak though.
1%
Check Price
Read Our Review
4. Logitech Harmony Companion
Nearly identical to the Elite in every way, minus the touch screen and lets you control 8 devices
1%
Check Price
Read Our Review
5. Logitech Harmony Hub
Excellent control of home entertainment and devices using your smartphone (no remote)
1%
Check Price
Read Our Review
6. Caavo Control Center
1%
Check Price
Read Our Review
7. Samsung SmartThings
1%
Check Price
Read Our Review
Bonus: Anymote Smartphone App
1%
Enable App
Read Our Review

1 Harmony Elite – Best Remote with Voice Control

Our Score
99%
best voice control universal remotes
The Logitech Harmony Elite is Logitech’s top of the line remote control that will let you control your home entertainment devices and smart home technology. It includes the Harmony Hub mentioned previously which gives you all its benefits. These include voice control with Alexa and Google Assistant as well as control of devices behind closed cabinets. Using Harmony Activities, you can tell Alexa to “Launch Movie Night” and all required components perform the appropriate activity. For example, the Movie Night activity could power on your TV, audio receiver or soundbar, lower your smart blinds, dim smart lights, change the color of your bulbs, and tune your TV to your favorite movie service (like Apple TV, Amazon Prime, Roku, or even Netflix).

Pros

  • Includes Harmony’s top of the line color LCD remote control.
  • Full range of Alexa commands for voice control.
  • Lets you consolidate remotes for up to 15 devices.
  • Supports for over 275,000 devices from 5000 brands.
  • Able to control many smart home devices as well as home entertainment.
  • Activities like “Watch a Movie” turn on all required components.
  • Turns your family members’ smartphones into smart remotes.
  • Controls devices behind cabinets and through walls.

Cons

  • It’s expensive.
  • Set up of devices is a bit more complex than other options here. We recommend PC-based set up on a Mac or Windows computer over trying to set this up using your smartphone.

Here’s our detailed review of the Logitech Harmony Elite.


2 Amazon FireTV Cube – Runner-up

Our Rating
95%
universal remotes with voice control
The simplest and most intuitive option for controlling your smart TV with Alexa is Amazon FireTV. While you can use the FireTV stick to do it cheaply, we like the Amazon FireTV Cube better. Why? The Cube was actually designed for the sole purpose of controlling your television. Check out out the following excellent video review from Smarter Home Life:

Pros

  • Great all-around voice control with Alexa is inherent to the device.
  • Supports a variety of commands.
  • Can control  AV equipment as well as TV.
  • Set up is automated using your TV screen and takes just minutes.
  • Includes the remote.
  • Cool cube design looks good on entertainment center.

Cons

  • The remote does not include volume buttons.
  • There is no support for YouTube.
  • There is no support for Dolby Vision yet.
  • Response time can seem a bit laggy (as you wait for commands to execute).

You can also read our review about FireTV and see detailed FireTV Cube Specifications sheet here.


3 Logitech Harmony Express

Our Score
95%
universal remotes with voice control
Logitech has seen the future, and her name is Alexa. The brand-spanking new Logitech Harmony Express is a smart universal remote that was designed for one purpose: to let you control your TV using your voice. The beauty of the Express is in Logitech’s voice command shortcuts. Just press-and-ask to start sets of devices, launch apps like Prime or Netflix, or go to specific channels. This is really a whole new product for Logitech. Unlike other Harmony hub- based remotes, this will not work with an existing Harmony hub or other harmony remotes. The remote itself is very simple and streamlined. Logitech fully expects you to use your voice for home entertainment control. If you want to use the remote you can, sure. Oh, and there is a nifty “find my remote” feature that will cause the remote to beep if you happen to lose it inside your sofa.

Pros

  • Awesome voice control with Alex.
  • Supports a variety of commands. like turn on the TV and watch Netflix
  • Launch, Pause, Resume, Search, YouTube – nice!
  • Recipies let you bundle smart devices together – lower the lights when you tell Alexa to turn on Netflix.
  • New Harmony set up auto detects most entertainment devices.
  • Find my remote feature makes remote beep at click of a button (on the hub).

Cons

  • Minimalist design is not as slick as other Harmony remotes.
  • Limited set of buttons.

You can also read our review about other great Harmony remotes here.


4 Logitech Harmony Companion

Our Score
90%
universal remotes with voice control
If the Harmony Hub is the poor man’s Elite without a remote, the Logitech Harmony Companion is the poor man’s Elite. It does come with a very good remote. The main difference is that it doesn’t include the color LCD screen. It does include a well-designed Harmony remote, and it also includes the Harmony Hub. The Harmony Companion gives you pretty much all of the benefits of the Elite minus the LCD touchscreen.

Pros

  • Includes a basic but well designed physical remote control.
  • Supports Harmony’s full range of Alexa commands for voice control.
  • Lets you consolidate remotes for up to eight devices.
  • Supports for over 275,000 devices from 5000 brands.
  • Able to control many smart home devices as well as home entertainment.
  • Activities like “Watch a Movie” turn on all required components.
  • Turns your family members’ smartphones into smart remotes .
  • Controls devices behind cabinets and through walls.

Cons

  • Six Home Control buttons are limited to certain activities.
  • Remote is not as nice as the Harmony Elite.
  • Users complain about setup issues with the app. We recommend PC-based set up using a USB cable.

You can also read a full review of the Logitech Harmony Companion and it’s comparison to Smart Control here.


5 Logitech Harmony Hub

Our Score
85%
universal remotes with voice control
The Logitech Harmony Hub gives you outstanding control over your home entertainment devices as well as your home entertainment center. The only caveat is that, unlike the other popular products in Logitech’s Harmony line, the Harmony Hub does not include an actual remote control. Instead, you control your devices using your the Harmony app on using your iOS or Android smartphone. As for voice control with Alexa [and Google Assistant], the functionality works the same way as if you bought a more expensive Harmony product with a remote. Yes, you get full voice control at an affordable price using the Harmony Hub.

Check out this awesome video from Majestechs that details how the Hub and Harmony Hub-based products work with Alexa.

Pros

  • Full range of commands for voice control with Alexa [adjust volume, change channels, tune to streaming media, tune to specific shows and episodes].
  • Lets you consolidate remotes for eight devices.
  • Supports for over 275,000 devices from 5000 brands.
  • Able to control many smart home devices as well as home entertainment.
  • Activities like “Watch a Movie” turn on all required components.
  • Turns your smartphone in a smart remote.
  • Controls devices behind cabinets and through walls.
  • Cons

    • Doesn’t include a physical remote.
    • Set up of devices is a bit more complex than other options here.

    You can read our review of the Logitech Harmony Hub and comparison with other Harmony products here.


    6 Caavo Control Center

    Our Score
    80%
    universal remotes with voice control
    We recently put Caavo Control Center to the test. We were all impressed by the latest [and much less expensive] version of this smart universal remote. While you are limited to control of four devices plus a soundbar, you can also control smart home stuff using IFTTT technology. And, more to the point, you can also control your TV and entertainment experience using Alexa. Commands are limited, but this a great way to get an innovative universal remote solution plus Alexa for voice control in a single product. You can read our full Caavo review here.

    Thanks to my man Chris Pirillo for the helpful video review:

    Pros

    • Searches across all streaming services for content.
    • You can use Alexa or Google Voice to bring up favorite TV shows and specific episodes.
    • Find remote feature helps you find “lost” remote when you lose it inside your sofa cushions.
    • Curated recommendations in the Caavo dashboard from expert reviewers are actually quite good.
    • Price dropped way down from a whopping $400 earlier this year.
    • Works with IFTTT [If This Then That] for smart home control.

    Cons

    • Limited to just four devices, which may not be enough to consolidate all your remotes.
    • There is no native smart home devices support.
    • Full functionality requires a “service plan” unless you buy it from Amazon. Amazon bundles a lifetime service plan in with the product.

    You can read our review of Caavo Control Center here.


    7 Samsung SmartThings

    Our Soore
    80%
    universal remotes with voice control
    If you subscribe to the Samsung SmartThings ecosystem and own a SmartThings Hub, then you already have the ability to control your TV with Alexa. SmartThings works with Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, and Amazon Tap. check if your TV is compatible with SmartThings, check the Supported Devices section of the SmartThings app.  If your TV is compatible, check out this guide to enable Samsung TV as a thing. While we would stop short of purchasing a Smartthings Hub for this purpose, it is a viable option for Smartthings owners. However, you are limited with what you can control with your voice. Options include: Power on, Power off, channel control, and volume control (set value via a slider, mute/unmute).

    Pros

    • Gives SmartThings owners the capability to use Alexa with compatible TVs.
    • Hub can be used to control over 200 devices over many popular brands of smart home devices with Alexa too.
    • It’s relatively easy to set up. Check out this step-by-step guide here.
    • Supports for routines like “Hello I’m Home” that let you combine devices for different activities.

    Cons

    • Higher learning curve than other items here.
    • Commands with Alexa are limited to those described above.
    • Limited support for SmartTV brands and models.
    • Customers complain about compatibility issues with some smart locks and lighting.


    Bonus Universal Remote with Voice Control Option! Free! Anymote

    Our Rating
    70%
    universal remotes with voice control
    Last on our list is a free option using the Anymote app that you can download for your smartphone. While we like the other options better, we understand that controlling Alexa with your TV is certainly a luxury, not a must-have.  This way, if you can’t afford the other options, you can try this free method. The main drawback of going this route is that that the app is complex and the Alexa integration can be fairly difficult to set up for someone who is not technical. You are also limited to basic commands like power on and off, channel up and down and volume up and down. This tutorial will step you through the process of setting up Anymote to work with Alexa. You can also get an understanding of the basics using this Anymote Knowledge Base Article.

    Pros

    • It’s free!

    Cons

    • The smartphone app is super complex and not very intuitive.
    • Set up requires some technical knowledge.
    • Alexa commands are very limited.
    • You need to prefix all commands with “Alexa, ask AnyMote….” which is sort of annoying.

    Buying Guide

    So why would you want to use a voice control TV remote anyhow? Well, for starters, you won’t have to use the multiple remotes that it takes to get from that blank screen to Netflix. For me, that number used to be three. I used to have one remote for the TV, another that controls cable, and yet another that powered up my soundbar. Being able to control everything using a single voice command is super liberating. Now, I just ask my FireTV to turn on Netflix, and Alexa fires her right up. I can even tune to the latest episode of Game of Thrones by uttering a few words. It really is the ultimate in convenience. And no more hunting around for those silly remotes!

    However, there are several key factors that you want to keep in mind when shopping for a universal remote with voice control. We’ll review each of the major ones below.

    Smart Speaker Compatibility

    The single most important question you should ask when choosing a universal remote with voice control is whether you want it to be compatible with your smart speaker ecosystem.  Do you already have an Alexa or Google Voice device?  If so, then you can control the devices you configure for your universal remote with your favorite assistant.  However, this is not necessarily a prerequisite. For example, the new Harmony Express remote has Alexa built into it. You do not need to purchase a separate smart speaker.  Same goes for FireTV Cube. There are of course pros and cons to each option.  We reviewed many of these above.

    Smart Home Control

    The second question you want to ask is whether you want to use your universal remote with smart home devices.  Now why the heck would I want to do that, you may be wondering.  Well, controlling your lights with your remote is cool, sure. But the real magic happens when you combine devices with your entertainment experience.  For example, using any of the Harmony Hub based remotes, you can create activities like “Watch a Movie.” Then, when you push a single button on the remote or say Alexa, I Want to Watch a Movie, the lights dim, blinds get lowered, and your TV, Dolby surround sound system, and favorite streaming media device all power up in 0rcestration. It’s magical!

    Convenience Features

    The next thing you are going to want to think about is what type of convenience features are important to you.  I’ll list most of the major ones below and then you can compare with the products you are considering.

    • LCD touchscreen vs no touchscreen
    • Haptic feedback on screen
    • Backlit buttons
    • Smart speaker compatibility
    • Limitations on the number of devices you can control
    • Ability to control gaming consoles
    • Ability to control smart devices, such as lights, locks, thermostats, blinds, and more
    • Activities like  “Watch a Movie” to turn on all related components
    • Search across streaming media services
    • Broad device support
    • Mobile app
    • Ease of set up
    • Ability to control devices behind closed cabinets and through walls
    • Battery type – rechargeable vs not
    • Physical buttons for smart home devices
    • Battery life on a full charge
    • Programmable Favorite channels
    • Ability to control smart speakers like Sonos and HEOS
    • Control of your favorite streaming players and services like Apple TV, Roku, Tivo, FireTV, Netflix, etc.
    • If This Then That Compatibility
    • TiVo support
    • Support and Warranty
    • Z-Wave & Zigbee device compatibility

    For a comparison of all Harmony Remotes, check out our Logitech Harmony Comparison Chart.

    Number of Existing Remotes To Consolidate

    If you have a ton of entertainment equipment and devices, this may be a concern for you.  The Harmony Elite will allow for consolidation of up to 15 devices. This is a good number for even those who have a lot of components. However, the Companion and Hub allow for control of fewer devices, so you may need to make a choice about the number of devices that you want to control.

    Connectivity

    All of the universal remotes we recommend require at minimum a Wi-Fi connection. If you have a slow connection, your experience might not be as good.


    How To Use Universal Remotes with Voice Control (Basic Steps)

    The basic steps for controlling your TV with your voice.

    1. Purchase [or download] any of the solutions we recommend below.
    2. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to configure the device. We have included some helpful video tutorials in this post
    3. Issue the appropriate command to Alexa to watch TV, raise and lower the volume, change a channel, tune to a specific movie or program, etc.

    Wala! It’s that simple! If you get stuck at any step along the way and want some help, contact us or leave a comment below. We have experience with all of these products, so don’t hesitate to ask. One of us will get back to you within one business day.


    Conclusion

    If you can afford it, we recommend the Logitech Harmony Elite, because it includes a beautiful remote, lets you control smart home stuff, and has solid support for a variety of Alexa commands.  And it will work with Google Assistant too. The biggest benefit of this voice control TV remote is that it is compatible with Logitech’s ever-growing device database. This means that it will support the stuff you buy in the future as well as what you own today. You can read my detailed review of the Logitech Harmony Elite here.

    If you just simply want to control your TV using your voice without a lot of fuss, the Amazon Fire TV Cube is another great option.


    Best Voice Control Universal Remotes: Your Turn

    We hope you enjoyed our review of 7 best universal remotes with voice control.

    Do you agree that these products are cool?  Perhaps there is a solution that you like better than didn’t make our list?

    Do you plan on buying any of these remotes to control your TV with your voice? If so, can you leave a comment below and let us know? We would love to hear from you.

    Also, if you liked our review, would you mind sharing it using any of the social media buttons on this page? Thank you for your support!


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    If you enjoyed reading this, you might also like some of our other articles.  We’ll list a few of them here.


    About the Author

    universal remotes with voice control

    Tim Brennan is a senior technical writer and serial entrepreneur, currently spending his nights and weekends blogging about all things technology. His primary areas of interest include smart homes, smart speakers, and universal remote controls like Logitech Harmony. When he is not writing about voice control TV remotes, he is a father of two, gadget nerd, Star Wars nut, Walking Dead superfan, and loves a good taco. He might also have a crush on Alexa. Brennan is founder at Writeinteractive, Inc., a blogger at oneSmartcrib.com and a regular contributor to UniveralRemoteReviews.com. He holds a B.A. in Journalism from Northeastern University. For more than two decades, Brennan has worked as a technical writer in the Greater Boston area for organizations that have included General Electric, Liberty Mutual, Biogen, and MIT.

    Comments

    1. Best guide ever with pros and cons. Thanks for sharing.

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