If you’ve ever searched for “Crestron vs Control4” or “Control4 vs Savant”, you’ve probably seen opinions ranging from “this is the greatest thing since sliced bread” to “this system NEVER works”. That’s because your new home automation system relies on two very important factors: the quality of your equipment and the quality of your integrator. You can’t have a great system without both of these, despite the claims of the numerous DIY systems manufacturers out there. We’ve been in business for 18 years and have been successful every year since 2001 because we are a terrific integrator with the highest quality service and support AND because we think about so many things when we recommend equipment to our clients. In our recent comparison of home automation systems, we mentioned some of the criteria by which we judge equipment worthy or not to make it in our systems. Below, we give you our exhaustive criteria that you should use when evaluating equipment proposed to you for your next project. In this post, we’ll discuss the handheld remote control.

Home Automation System Bill of Rights: Remote Control Edition

The main interaction you have with the system on an everyday basis is via the handheld remote control. When you are choosing a new system, you should first and foremost concentrate on evaluating the automated remote control that is used with the system. It should have the following characteristics AT MINIMUM:


One touch access to at least 4 of your favorites sources. That means you press the button and the system turns on to that source with one button press.


It should last many years and survive drops and kids.

Heroic Battery Life

It should last at least a week between charges or 6 months between changing regular batteries


You should be able to give this to an 8-year old or a 68-year old and they should be able to operate the system with no instruction.


A small remote control manufacturer will never beat Apple or Google at the hardware game. The remote is a tool for choosing sources and controlling the on-screen interfaces of your equipment and activating scenes for shades and lights. It should not control your thermostat or show you the weather or even the current time.

Limited in Scope

Not everyone will agree but a remote should always be for ONE ROOM ONLY. Making it try to do more than one room means it needs to be 2-way and have a screen but more so it increases the complexity of operation. At most, it should have an all rooms off command tied to holding the room power off for 2 seconds. A one-way remote is always more reliable than a 2-way remote. Always.

Physical Buttons

A great remote should be composed mostly of physical buttons with limited or no functions requiring a screen touch or a button next to a screen.

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