The best TV remote of 2023

Lost, broken or fiddly TV zappers no more. Replace and upgrade with these awesome TV remotes.

A collection of TV remote controls - all contenders for the best TV remote

by Chris Duffill |
Updated on

The best TV remote is the one you can find just when you need it - but, what if the one included with your gogglebox is more than a little worse for wear? It might have seen better days. Even the best TV can benefit from a more user-friendly and responsive remote. Or perhaps it’s been chewed by the dog, dropped a hundred times, or had cola spilt onto it. The novelty of that ‘sticky button’ experience is probably wearing a bit thin by now. So, time for an upgrade.

Best TV remote of 2023 at a glance:

Best overall TV remote: One For All Essence 4 Universal Remote Control - View at Amazon
Best budget TV remote: One For All Contour Universal Remote Control - View at Amazon
Best programmable TV remote: BroadLink RM4 Pro IR and RF Universal Remote - View at Amazon
Best simple TV remote: One For All Streamer Remote - View at Amazon

We’ve stuck our hands down the back of the online sofa and found new remotes that'll make using your TV a much better experience. Some are surprisingly advanced, others refreshingly simple. Maybe you can ditch that collection of ageing remotes while you’re at it. After all, why have half a dozen zappers cluttering up your shiny new 4K TV setup when you can have one learning remote to control them all?

As fans of home cinema will know all too well - juggling several remotes to control your home theatre gizmos can be super-frustrating. If you’re a more casual viewer who just needs a solid, reliable remote that ‘just works’, we’ve covered that in our recommendations too. So, stay tuned - the best TV remotes of 2023 are beaming their way to you, next.

Best TV remote of 2023

Best overall TV remote

One For All is a brand you’ll be seeing quite a lot of in our recommendations - and for good reason. Not only has it been around for quite a number of years now, but the company also knows that longevity and the overall build quality of its products matter just as much as functionality.

Here, we have the Essence 4 - possibly the best all-rounder from All For One to be found. What makes it such an accessible and practical remote (other than the incredible price point)? Well, not only can this be set up to work with 100% of all brands of TV, but it has the added bonus of being able to switch between controlling 4 devices (including the TV itself). So, if you’re always swapping from TV remote, to amplifier, to streaming set-top box, to Bluray player and back again, this is the one (For All) for you.

As with most of the remotes here, it’ll only work with IR (infrared) remotes - there’s no radio (RF) or fancy Bluetooth here - which is why this is such a great deal for most users. That said, there is no backlit buttons here either - so if you’re likely to be watching movies in low or no lighting, this may not suit you as well as some of the others here.

One brilliant addition is the learning feature. Normally, the Essence 4 is set up using codes to identify your kit from its built-in list. But, if you’d prefer to make it learn the various functions of any IR remote, just point your old remote at the Essence 4 and it’ll save that command for you. As replacement TV remotes go (with or without those three extra devices to control), this one is a real winner.

Pros

  • Amazing 100% compatibility thanks to the learning function
  • A great all-rounder with plenty of function buttons
  • Solidly built - should withstand plenty of drops and mishaps
  • Operates four devices for extra usability and streamlined home entertainment operation

Cons

  • Remembering to hit the button to select which device you want to control can take some practice

Best budget TV remote

One For All URC1210 Contour Universal Control - possibly the best TV remote
Price: $23.33

The Essence 4 above is a pretty close contender for a budget TV remote, but this Contour from One For All is about as low a price as you’d want to get for any decent piece of tech. Unlike our pick above, this one has no ability to control more than one TV. But, if that’s what you’re after there’s no better option.

Once again, this is guaranteed to work with 100% of TV brands and models thanks to the combination of easy setup mode plus a learning function. One detail that should be mentioned is the number of buttons on the Contour versus the number of functions on your old remote. While it’s amazing that any remote can be made to control any TV, it’s good to remember to look at the buttons you actually have.

This one has been designed with a good range of standard smart TV functions in mind - including menu, guide, info and playback buttons. If you’ve lost or broken your original TV remote, this is going to be a perfect fit for most of the usual functions. All that for a shade over £10? You bet.

Pros

  • 100% compatibility thanks to the learning function
  • A perfect no-frills replacement remote that does that one thing very well
  • One For All solid build quality

Cons

  • Only works with a TV
  • Only controls one device

Best simple TV remote

One For All Streamer Remote - possibly the best TV remote
Price: $23.74
Alternative retailers
Walmart$24.99View offer
Lowe's$24.99View offer
Best Buy$24.99View offer
QVC$31.49View offer

Our pick for the best budget TV remote above isn’t exactly a complicated beast, but it is still quite a handful of buttons. For someone who wants a remote control that sits more snugly in the hand, and yet still provides quick access to key functions, the Streamer Remote is brilliant. It’s a familiar form factor that we’ve seen on Roku, Now and other stick-based streaming devices. But it’s a tried and tested shape and style that means you can change the volume, and channel and navigate menus with ease.

Amazingly, it’s also a learning remote, so you can be confident it’ll control your TV - but on top of that, it’ll control 3 devices. There’s an RGB light behind the central dial that will tell you which device you’re controlling. Plus, there are four shortcut buttons to your favourite streaming services. There’s a lot of power here, all packed into a simple and ergonomic form.

Pros

  • Simple and lightweight yet very useful for all the commonly used functions
  • Can control three devices - great for such a compact unit
  • Backlit buttons to easy use in darkened rooms
  • Huge compatibility and learning functions
  • Quick access keys to popular streaming apps

Cons

  • Some users find programming this with the code for their TV and other devices a little complex

Best TV remote for Samsung TVs

Compatible with all Samsung smart TVs, this is the perfect remote for replacing a lost or broken one, or just to have as a handy spare for when you misplace the original. Despite not being a Samsung product, it is extremely similar - if not identical - to the standard (non-solar, non-voice control) remote you get with most recent Samsungs. The layout will let you do all the usual things, including smart menu functionality.

Bear in mind that, while this is certainly a contender for the most budget remote control here, it isn’t a learning or programmable one. It’ll work with Samsung TVs, and that’s it. So, if you do fancy branching out into controlling more than one device, some of the other remotes here will be your best option.

Pros

  • Highly accurate to the original Samsung remote
  • Plenty of familiar function buttons
  • No programming required
  • Very low price yet has a solid enough build quality that users like

Cons

  • Build is good -but not as premium as the Samsung original

Best replacement voice remote for Samsung TVs

And, for those of you who were reading the recommendation above and saying “But I need the voice one..” here it is, right on cue. And again, it’s a brilliant high-quality and fully-compatible replacement for the standard Samsung voice remote. But note that this is only for 2021 and 2022 Neo QLED and Crystal UHD models - so do check the list of compatible TVs before you buy.

The design is, again, identical to the original - with quick-access buttons for popular streaming apps. Most importantly, hitting the button with the microphone icon will have you back up and running with voice control over your set. Quick and easy to pair, this is a no-fuss replacement or additional remote that packs the advanced features you’re used to. Just make sure your Samsung TV is on the list of supported models, and you’ll be good to go.

Pros

  • Once again, highly accurate to the original Samsung remote
  • Four shortcut buttons to key services
  • Automatically pairs and no programming required
  • Voice search function thanks to built-in mic

Cons

  • Build is good -but not as solid as an original Samsung

Best remote for Amazon Fire TVs

Fire TVs are super-popular, thanks to the streaming-oriented design and build. We especially like compact remotes like this, as they’re less cumbersome to use, yet still feature all of the buttons you’ll need for your evening’s viewing.
Best of all, in practical terms, this is a backlit remote with a motion sensor - so, no more scrambling around while the movie is on and hunting for the right key in the dark.

There are two customisable buttons too, so add shortcuts to your favourite apps and you’ll have a remote that’s ready for anything. You can even use this to quickly pair up your headphones, and the voice function is - as the name suggests - Alexa-based. That’s a lot of voice-activated power at your fingertips.

Pros

  • Fully Alexa compatible with extra functions like "Alexa, find my remote"
  • Backlit for easy use in darkened rooms, with motion activation - so no more pressing the wrong button
  • Two customisable buttons for your own shortcuts to your favourite apps
  • Pair your headphones with your TV with one button - handy if your household has several headphone users

Cons

  • Not compatible with Fire TV Stick

Best easy-to-use TV remote

Not every TV viewer wants or needs a complicated set of buttons to have to navigate. Ideal for anyone who just wants access to the simpler function, or those with impaired vision or muscular coordination issues, the Geemarc TV15 is your TV’s (and your) best friend.

The main function buttons here - power, mute, AV source, volume, and channel - are easily as big as your entire fingertip. But, just because this is a simple-looking and accessible gadget doesn’t mean it hasn’t got a trick or two up its sleeve. Firstly, it can be paired with two devices - for instance, a TV and a DVD player.

Just be aware that if you want a dedicated guide or menu button for smart TV apps and more advanced functions, you won’t find it here. This is fairly and squarely aimed at those who want a few, easily found, simple functions in a remote. And for that, it’s simply perfect.

Pros

  • Can be taught to control two devices, e.g.: TV and a DVD player.
  • Learning function (so you will need your original remote to teach it the codes for each button)
  • Large, easy-to-see buttons for all the main functions

Cons

  • Teaching it will take some time, as there are 14 buttons to program
  • Some users may inadvertently switch between the two device profiles, so not ideal for anyone who isn't technically aware.

Best TV remote of 2023: Buyer’s guide

Wouldn’t it be great to gather up all of your ageing remotes and replace them with a single brand-new one? Well, let’s take a look at what you actually need first.

Forget matching the brand of your TV

Replacing your old remote? You don’t need to buy the same one all over again. Anyone who has broken or lost their TV remote may have scoured eBay for an equally tired used replacement. Not any more. Compatible remotes by third-party brands have been out there for a number of years now, including some that can learn the functions from your existing (working) remote control. Others have a handy list of codes that allow you to find the model of your TV and easily set the new remote to control it; particularly handy if your original one has bitten the dust.

What kind of TV viewer are you?

Casual and occasional viewers

Your new remote should fit your needs, but that doesn’t mean going overboard. After all, if you’re a casual viewer and only use one TV for all of your entertainment and TV subscription services, there’s probably not much point in dropping extra cash on a programmable touchscreen remote. A small budget TV in a bedroom or kitchen is much less likely to be surrounded by other equipment. If that’s you, definitely keep things small and simple.

That said, you’ll still need a remote with the right physical buttons on it. Just because a remote can be made to control the volume, channel and mute functions doesn’t mean you won’t need a few more. For instance, if you like being able to quickly view your electronic programme guide without navigating through a maze of menus, or being able to switch to your favourite catchup services and TV apps, you’ll need to find a remote to suit.

General viewers with a small home entertainment setup

We recommend using the need to replace your old remote as an excuse for a slight upgrade. For some, just getting a simple like-for-like replacement (even if it’s from a different brand to your TV) can seem - well - boring. Take the opportunity to look at some of the slightly more advanced remotes on the market. For instance, you might be sitting in your living room or kitchen right now and realise that you have two or three other devices next to your screen. Many of the simpler learning remotes have dedicated buttons for extra devices like DVD or BluRay players, amplifiers, TV recorders, set-top boxes and more.

Serious home cinema fans

Into home cinema? Definitely opt for a more advanced and programmable learning remote.

As someone who probably already has enough remotes to play an epic round of Jenga with, you’ll already know the benefits of shelving them all in favour of a decent replacement. What better way to complement your setup than being able to control that 80-inch TV at the same time as everything else.

At the high end, many of these remotes actually have more in common with small tablet computers. Full-colour screens, customisable designs, learning functions and programmable macros. Plus, some even have voice control built in. By reaching for just one remote. you can quickly and easily turn on your entire home cinema system. Switch between controlling your TV, amplifier, lights, BluRay or streaming media player and anything that uses a standard infrared (IR) remote.

For devices that support Bluetooth or app connections, it’s even possible to ditch your old IR remotes altogether and operate them digitally. But, for maximum compatibility (particularly if your setup has one or two older components) we recommend the IR-based all-in-one type remotes.

Wave goodbye to batteries (if you can)

Wouldn’t it also be great to wave goodbye to the ‘open the battery cover and roll the batteries around’ thing? Well, a number of remotes that come with TVs (notably the Samsung Solarcell remotes) are efficient enough to keep themselves charged via solar. Other, more power-hungry interactive remotes for larger setups and the like need a bit more heft power-wise - so they’ll be recharged instead, just like a smartphone.

Watching in a dark room? You need some back-lighting

It’s one thing to have a TV that works well in a bright room, but what about controlling one when all the lights are out? The best TV remotes, no matter their size or complexity, come with back-lit keys. Even advanced models which have touchscreens instead of physical buttons emulate the soft outline-glow of a standard back-lit remote. Why? Well, no one wants to blind themselves, or their guests, with the bright light from a phone or tablet-style screen mid-movie. Instead, a soft glow is all you need behind each button to be able to find the keys and read function labels.

Dog finally destroyed your last TV remote? Time for a replacement © GETTY IMAGES

Best TV remote of 2023: FAQs

Do I need to replace my remote with the same model as my original?

No. Although the simplest solution for many will be to look online for a direct replacement. However, that can also prove difficult (and excessively expensive) compared to some of our recommendations. Plus, you’d miss out on any extra bells and whistles that a different remote could bring.

What’s the best TV remote for Samsung TVs?

Samsung TVs - particularly at the larger end of the scale with 55 and 65-inch TVs -  often come with two remotes. One is a standard infrared remote; the other is a solar-cell remote that doesn’t rely on line-of-sight. In our experience, these remotes are very well designed to suit the equipment and operating system. However, if you’re lost or broken these, you may as well take a look at compatible alternatives. Some may come with added benefits.

Is a replacement TV remote worth it?

We always recommend replacing your standard TV remote if it’s looking shabby. But perhaps it also has intermittent buttons, eats batteries for breakfast or just doesn’t feel good to use. You may find that even a simple like-for-like replacement will cure these issues. Again, you might even end up with one or two extra functions you didn’t realise you needed.

Can I control all of my devices with one remote?

Yes, and no. This is all down to compatibility. Not all learning remotes are capable of learning everything that’s beamed into it from the original remote. And, of course, not all older equipment such as amplifiers will have had a remote originally. If you do have a large and varied collection of equipment, we recommend grouping them by how often you use them and when. You’re likely to be able to find a TV remote that can also control a connected DVD player, for instance. As mentioned above, home cinema fans will probably have more kit, but it’s also likely to be modern enough to be able to be controlled by one high-end learning remote.

Chris Duffill is a Tech Product Writer for What's The Best and Yours. His background includes writing, editorial, marketing, design, video and photography. He specialises in home entertainment and audiovisual tech, including speakers, amplifiers, turntables, streaming media players, TVs and more. He is also one of our resident experts in computing (PCs, tablets, smartphones, smartwatches), DSLR photography and all kinds of digital cameras. He also writes about retro gaming, game consoles and various electronic gadgets. If it plugs in, lights up or makes a noise, he’ll write about it.

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