What Is The Best Universal Remote For Seniors (8 Easy Options)

As we age, it becomes more difficult to control the electronics around us. This is especially true for televisions and DVD players. A universal remote can help you regain some of that control. Learn more about choosing the best universal remote for seniors and the elderly.

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional
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Product recommendations are based on my personal experience working with seniors. I may earn a commission on items purchased from affiliate links in this guide. 

Age shouldn’t stop you from enjoying your favorite shows and movies. If you’re looking for a universal remote that is simple and easy to use, take a look at our top 7 picks.  These remotes are perfect for anyone who wants an easy way to control their TV, DVD player, and more.

The Best Universal Remotes for Seniors: Simple, Easy to Use with Large Buttons!

What Makes A Good Universal Remote for Older Adults?

There are a few things to consider when looking for a good universal remote for seniors. Some of the more obvious factors include: ease of use, large buttons, and compatibility with your devices. 

But what about other features? Older adults may want features such as voice recognition, backlit buttons and even a wrist strap. or universal search capabilities.

Universal remotes with these features can make life a lot easier for seniors!

1. Simple and Easy to Use

Universal remotes can be really simple or really complicated to use, depending on the model. Some have buttons on the side that you have to press in order to change the channel or volume, while others have menus that you can access by pressing a button on the front. Some just have the basic buttons to control the TV volume and change the channel. It really depends on the model and what features are important to you and you really need.

If you’re looking for a simple remote that you can use without having to read a manual, a basic model like the SMPL Remote for Seniors might be a good option. But if you want something with more features, the GE Big Button Universal Remote or even the Fire Stick Remote from Amazon if you are up for trying voice control, then you might want to consider those although they are a bit more complicates to use.

2. Large Buttons Are Easier to Operate and Read

Older adults will appreciate big buttons on universal remote controls because they are easier to find, operate and read.

But, often remotes with bigger buttons are larger overall. So, others may prefer smaller buttons because they may have trouble gripping a large remote. Choose a remote control that meets your needs or is somewhere in the middle.

Remotes that use a touch screen for control are coming out on the market too but I haven’t seen any yet that I’d recommend for older adults.

3. Backlit Buttons Are Easier To See

Backlit buttons are an easy way to make buttons more visible to seniors because they are easier to see in dimly lit or other dark conditions. Older adults sometimes have trouble seeing in the dark, so backlighting buttons on a remote helps them easily find what they are looking for.

But some elderly people have told me that some backlit buttons are actually easier to mistake if they have small print because the backlighting makes the print illegible.

So, it’s important to choose a remote with backlighting that is easy to see without being too bright.

4. Operates Multiple Devices

Some universal remotes are compatible with devices such as standard televisions, cable boxes, DVD players, Blu-ray players and more.

But do you really need all those options?

Choose a remote control that only controls the electronic devices you really use. Note that some electronics like the Apple TV aren’t compatible with some universal remotes. If you have a higher end smart TV, check compatibility before buying another remote for it.

5. Lightweight and Easy to Hold Onto

You will also want a remote that is lightweight and easy to hold onto because older adults often have trouble holding onto large objects.

A good remote should also have an ergonomic design with a comfortable grip, so you can keep it in your hand without having to adjust your grip every time you want to use it.

6. Should Lock to Prevent Accidental Reprogramming

Some universal remotes often have a lock feature to prevent accidental programming. This is important for tech-averse seniors who are concerned about “messing up their remote”. (This also keeps the grandkids from messing it up too!).

7. Hard to Lose or Misplace

Seniors often have difficulty with losing or misplacing their remotes. So, if they have to use multiple remotes, consider purchasing a universal remote that operates several devices. It might be easier to keep up with one remote opposed to multiple ones.

8. Wrist Straps Keep Seniors From Dropping Their Remotes

Seniors often struggle with dexterity, coordination or balance and mobility issues, which can make it difficult for them to use traditional remotes. A wrist strap can help keep seniors from accidentally dropping their remotes and can keep it from falling down the cracks of the couch.

Recommended Universal Remotes for Seniors: My Top Picks

If you are a senior citizen and want to keep your independence as much as possible, then you should consider getting a universal remote. There are a lot of great universal remotes out there but here is my list of the best universal TV remotes that you should consider.

smpl-remote-control

SMPL Simple Senior TV Remote Control – The Best Universal Remote for Seniors Overall

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If you are looking for a truly simple, universal remote for seniors, there are a few options available. The best in my opinion is the SMPL Simple Senior TV Remote Control. 

The SMPL remote is designed for simplicity and only operates the key functions of most TVs. The white background makes the blue buttons easy to see, and the buttons are large and arranged in an oval shape to avoid confusion and accidental button presses.

The red power button is easy to find because it contrasts with the other blue buttons. I love that the numbered buttons can also be programed to the senior’s favorite channels so they can see their favorite shows at the press of a button.

This remote is perfect for seniors who are visually impaired and for seniors who suffer from cognitive or mental health conditions because it is compact and easy to use.

This remote can be programmed for most televisions from major brands, as well as set-top-boxes. Plus, programming this remote is extremely simple too.

GE Big Button Universal Remote Control

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The GE Big Button remote is designed for people who have difficulty seeing. The buttons are bigger with large letters and symbols in black so that they are easier to see. The channel and volume buttons toggle and are the largest buttons on the remote as they are probably used the most.

This remote can be programmed to control a variety of devices, including your TV, stereo, soundbar, DVD player, Blu-ray player, VCR, and more. It can control up to 8 devices simultaneously, and programming it is easy, thanks to 90 days of free technical support.

This remote is ideal for seniors who are visually impaired but not great for those who have memory problems. Seniors with arthritis or other painful joint conditions may find the rectangular design difficult to hold.

Amazon Fire Stick TV Remote With Voice Control

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The Amazon Fire Stick TV Remote with Voice Control is a great option for a universal TV remote if you are looking for something that is easy to use and has voice control.

This remote has a simple design and is easy to use, even for some seniors. It also has a number of features that make it great for watching TV, such as the ability to search for content, control Amazon Alexa, and control playback of movies and TV shows. It provides quick access to the most common streaming services too.

This option is best for an elderly person who isn’t afraid of technology and has good eyesight. The buttons are small with small print and will be difficult for some older adults to read. But, if they can get comfortable with the voice function, they won’t have much needs for buttons anyway.

Sony RM-EZ4 2-Device Universal Remote with Big Buttons

Where to Buy:

There are many true universal TV remotes on the market, but the Sony RM-Ez4 is a great choice for seniors. The Sony RM-EZ4 universal remote is small, user-friendly and fits comfortably in the palm of your hand.

The buttons are large and easily readable, and they’re not cluttered on the face of the remote so you won’t press the wrong button. Plus, the volume buttons are concave while the channel buttons are convex so you can feel the difference between the two without having to look.

The remote functions are so simple and easy to use that even seniors who have arthritis, Alzheimer’s, dementia and Parkinson’s patients could also use the Sony Universal Remote.

It can control both the TV and cable box and can be programmed for most big brand televisions. The downside is that the buttons aren’t backlit so using it in the dark or in dim lighting might be a challenge.

tek pal remote

Tek Pal Remote for Seniors and Elderly

If you are looking for a universal remote that is specifically designed for seniors and elders, then the Tek-Pal Remote may be a good option for you. The Tek-Pal remote has only the essential buttons with just 6 buttons that are large and easy to press. The compact design allows it to fit easily in the hand. Buttons are backlit to make it easier to use in the dark or dim lighting. Plus, the buttons have different shapes and there are no symbols that may be confusing.

The remote has pre-programmed codes for televisions sets, cable TV and satellite receivers. If your device is not included in the pre-programmed codes, it can be programmed using the remote’s code search feature. The setup process is relatively simple.

The phone has big buttons, but it can be difficult to grasp and handle because it is so small. It is however great for seniors with low vision.

flipper remote control for seniors

Flipper Big Button Remote for Seniors Description

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The Flipper remote has been designed to be easy to use for seniors and those with visual impairments. It has just 6 buttons plus a red light that flashes with the press of a button.

This little remote has all you need to control it – a power button, channel up and down buttons, volume up and down buttons, and a mute button. The buttons are also slanted inwards towards the center of the remote to avoid pressing the wrong button.

The different colors, large symbols, and words on the remote make it extremely user friendly. The remote is small, white, and shaped to fit snugly in the hand.

This remote works with most TVs, cable boxes, and satellite devices. The setup process is simple and easy to understand, and you can even program the remote to control a soundbar and other smart speakers.

Easy Mote Universal Big Button TV Remote

Where to Buy:
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There are a few great universal remotes for seniors that can be used with TVs. One option is the Easy Mote Universal Big Button TV Remote. This remote has a large, easy-to-use 6 button layout that is perfect for seniors. It also has a built-in light for nighttime use, and it has a range of up to 50 feet. You can control both the TV and a cable set top box with it too.

The wrist strap is another great feature. This means that you will never have to search for the remote again, as it fits perfectly in the hand and the fingers can easily reach the buttons.

The programming steps are a bit more complicated that the others on my list. Oh, and batteries are not included!

Gmatrix u43 Big Button Universal Remote Control

Where to Buy:

If you are looking for a universal remote control that is easy for seniors to use, then the Gmatrix U43 Big Button Universal Remote Control is a good option. This remote has a large, easy-to-read button layout that is perfect for those who have difficulty using small buttons.  It is easy to set-up and includes an “auto” programming mode.

But, it only controls one device – the TV. There is an input button on it that allows you switch the TV input to another device but it won’t control the other device.

Wrapping Up

The right remote control can make a big difference in a senior’s ability to entertain and inform themselves. My recommended remotes above are perfect for seniors because they operate the basic functions of a TV and only have the basic features that most older folks want.

With any of these universal remotes, you’ll be able to easily control your TV, DVD player and more. So don’t let age get in the way of your entertainment – get yourself a universal remote today!

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Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Scott Grant has spent more than 20 years serving seniors and the elderly in the home medical equipment industry. He has worked as a manufacturer's rep for the top medical equipment companies and a custom wheelchair specialist at a durable medical equipment (DME) provider in WV. He is father to 4 beautiful daughters and has three terrific grandkids. When not promoting better living for older adults, he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking and early morning runs.

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4 thoughts on “What Is The Best Universal Remote For Seniors (8 Easy Options)”

  1. I disagree that most elderly want 4 functions, I believe they want only 3. I am searching for a unit without “mute”. My 91 year old mother in law understands on/off, channel, and volume, but if she accidentally hits “mute” she tells us the TV or remote isn’t working. I’m still searching for something like the Seki Slim learning remote (no tedious setup like the Tek Pal) but one with only three functions. Looks like I’ll have to buy what exists and disable the fourth function myself. Maybe make a youtube video of how to disable and if it gets enough hits, we’ll finally get a 3-function remote. If TV stations held to a standard volume, and commercials weren’t rude, we could do away with remote volume and just set it at the TV.

    • Hi Ray – thanks for stopping by and leaving these valuable comments. I have been researching and I cannot find a 3 function remote either. Seems like everything has mute. But I’m going to keep looking. Thanks also for the video suggestions. My goal for next year is to start making videos for some of my posts. I’ll put this one to the top of the list. Loud commercials are a pet peeve of mine too – another advantage of cutting the cord and moving to streaming programming!
      Has anyone out there seen a 3 function TV remote anywhere that you can let me and Ray know about?

  2. I am looking for a large button tv remote for my mom to use. The problem is she is in a nursing home and her cable is delivered to her room through a simple cable that I assume is connected to a cable box located somewhere in the nursing home. I am sure it serves all the residents. I have not found a remote that can be programmed under these circumstances. Any suggestions?

    • Hello Elaine! There should be a way to make this work. A few questions: Is the remote she has now stand alone or is it built into her bed? if it is built into the bed there may not be much you can do. If it is a standalone remote, use it to change the channels on the TV. If the channel on the actual TV changes, you may be able to get away with a standard big button remote. This is because the TV is probably in control of the channel selection not the cable box. But if the displayed channel on the TV stays the same but the programming changes, the cable box is in control and you may be at the mercy of the nursing home. If the remote control is stand-alone, you might want to try the Easy Mote at Amazon. It may work because you use the current remote control to program it. It is simple and easy to do. Maybe it would be programmable to the current remote control codes? let me know what you find out. –Scott

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