Table of Contents
- Best IR Remote Extenders – Comparison Table
- 7 Best IR Remote Extenders in 2020
- 1. Best Wireless Remote Extender Kit – Sewell BlastIR Wireless Pro
- 2. Best Wired IR Remote Extender – BAFX 3233 IR Remote Repeater/Extender
- 3. Best Cheap IR Remote Extender – BAFX 1445
- 4. Best Cheap IR Remote Extender for Cable Boxes – Infrared Resources IR1040
- 5. Best Cheap IR Remote Extender with Extra-Long Cable – Nextronics XL
- 6. Best Wireless IR/RF kit Under $60 – StarTech IREXT2
- 7. Best-Looking IR Remote Extender Kit – Next Generation 433 KIT
Whether you’re looking for a highly capable IR remote extender that will allow you to control all the audio and video equipment across your home or for a simple remote extender that will help you control only one hidden audio/video device, you’ve come to the right place. Our article on 7 best IR remote extenders in 2020 is here to help you find the perfect extender for your needs. We will discuss different types of IR remote extenders, tell you what to pay attention to when looking for an extender, and present to you some of the best IR remote extenders in 2020.
When building home theater systems and home entertainment systems, we are all trying to achieve the cleanest possible setup. We often hide the cables behind the walls or under the floor/carpet. We are also trying to hide all the other equipment except for the TV. The AV receiver, Blu-ray player, cable boxes, and streaming boxes are often found inside a cabinet, located beneath the TV and the cabinets are closed in order to keep things as clean as possible.
The problem with this kind of setup and with setups where the equipment is in one room and your TV is in the other is that you can’t control that equipment if you don’t have a clear line of sight. You see, most of the AV equipment comes with IR remote (IR stands for Infrared) and IR signals can’t travel through walls, wood, or any hard material, which means that the line of sight is absolutely necessary. So, what can you do? Can you control everything without opening the cabinet or going to the other room? Yes, you can. You just need an IR remote extender. This simple device will keep your setup clean and help you control all the equipment. We are here to help you understand what kind of IR remote extender you need for your setup and present to you some of the best extenders on the market.
Best IR Remote Extenders – Comparison Table
|IR Remote Extenders||Rating||Price||Review|
|Sewell BlastIR||4.3||Check Amazon|
|BAFX 3233||4.6||Check Amazon|
|BAFX 1445||4.4||Check Amazon||Read Review|
|Infrared Resources IR1040||4.3||Check Amazon|
|Nextronics XL||4.2||Check Amazon|
|StarTech IREXT2||4.0||Check Amazon|
|Next Generation 433 KIT||3.8||Check Amazon||Read Review|
Like always, we did our research, explored the market, tested and compared different types of IR remote extenders, and picked out 7 Best IR remote extenders in 2020. Whether you are looking for the cheapest possible solution or for a highly capable and versatile device, you should be able to find something that meets your requirements. The following extenders are our top picks.
7 Best IR Remote Extenders in 2020
1. Best Wireless Remote Extender Kit – Sewell BlastIR Wireless Pro
Sewell is one of the most reputable brands when it comes to IR repeaters and extenders. Their BlastIR Wireless Pro kit (receiver + emitter) receives, repeats, and extends the range of IR signal without causing any interference. You can buy a bunch of these kits (up to 10) and make separate zones working on separate frequencies.
Things we like
The kit comes in a quite premium box with all the necessary equipment. Besides the IR receiver and IR emitter, you will get two sets of power cables – power cables with DC adapters (if you have a wall outlet nearby) and a set of USB power cables that you can connect to your TV and get a power supply from your TV. You will also get two IR cables (in case you want to hide the receiver and emitter), two adhesives, and rubber feet.
Both receiver and emitter look like hockey pucks and are color-coded – the blue one is the receiver and the orange one is the emitter. Each has a power input and a port for connecting the extension cables (which are also color-coded). On the bottom of each device, there’s a circular frequency selector – you are supposed to select the same frequency on both devices.
The installation process is pretty straightforward. You are supposed to place the receiver close to your TV. It has to be within the line of sight so you can aim the remote at it. The IR emitter has to be attached to the device you want to control and has to be in the line of sight of the ‘’IR eye’’ of that device. Or, you can hide the IR emitter behind the device you want to control and then use the included color-coded extension cable and make sure that the ‘’IR eye’’ on that cable is in the line of sight of the ‘’IR eye’’ of the device you want to control. The IR receiver and IR emitter communicate with each other on radio frequency (915-917MHz) and don’t have to be within the line of sight.
So, how this setup works? You are supposed to use the remote and aim it at the receiver placed somewhere around your TV. The receiver receives the IR signal from the remote, converts it to a radio signal, and sends it to your IR emitter (which doesn’t even have to be in the same room – the max. distance is 650ft). The IR emitter receives the radio signal, converts it to an IR signal, and sends it to the device you want to control. As a result, the device reacts to the given command.
The kit works flawlessly with numerous devices (AV receivers, Blu-ray and DVD players, cable boxes, streaming boxes) made by all kinds of manufacturers. There is no noticeable delay when giving commands (changing the channel, stopping the video, etc.).
One of the best things about this kit is that you can buy up to 10 kits and make 10 zones that work on independent frequencies (you just have to select the same frequency for each zone and the receiver for the specific zone will communicate only with the emitter for that zone). And there will be no interference between the devices located in different zones.
Things we don’t like
Previous users have experienced certain compatibility issues with Yamaha HTR 6140 AV receiver and Arris DCX 3520E-M high-definition DVR.
2. Best Wired IR Remote Extender – BAFX 3233 IR Remote Repeater/Extender
BAFX is also a very popular and well-known brand in the world of IR repeaters and extenders. This simple and fairly affordable device (priced under $30) will allow you to control up to 8 IR devices at the same time (expandable to 12).
Things we like
Inside the box, you’ll find all the necessary equipment – one distribution block with all the connections, one IR receiver cable (5ft long), four emitter cables (each with two IR eyes and each 8.5ft long), one power adapter, and all the standard paperwork.
The installation is fairly simple. The included distribution block is the heart of the system and it’s the hub connecting the IR receiver with all the IR emitters. On one side, there are 3 IR receiver inputs (additional IR receiver cables are sold separately) and two power inputs (DC power input and a USB power input). On the other side, there are 6 IR emitter connectors. You just have to find a nice hidden place for the distribution block (you can mount it on a wall), connect the IR receiver cable and place the receiver’s IR head in front of your TV. Then, connect the IR emitter cables and run them to all the hidden equipment you want to control.
The extender delivers flawless performance with minimal delay. It’s compatible with all IR controlled audio and video equipment. It’ll work with all the well-known brands including Sony, Yamaha, LG, Apple, Cisco, Logitech, Marantz, etc.
Out of the box, this device allows you to control up to 8 different devices. The maximum number of devices you can control is 12 but you will need to buy two additional IR receiver cables and two IR emitter cables.
Things we don’t like
Stray IR signals produced by plasma TVs may interfere with this IR remote extender kit. To avoid any interference, you have to place the distribution block further away from the TV.
The distribution block has a USB power input but the USB power cable is not included in the package.
3. Best Cheap IR Remote Extender – BAFX 1445
Looking for something super-cheap to control that one device you want to keep hidden in the cabinet. BAFX all-in-one IR repeater/extender is an excellent solution. This device is available in three versions (with one, two, or four emitter heads).
Things we like
Inside a simple packaging, you will find just one cable with three ends. On one end, there’s a USB connector for power supply (you are supposed to connect it to your TV or some other device with a USB port, no wall adapters included). The other two ends are reserved for the IR receiver cable (78in long) and emitter cable (39in long).
The installation is pretty much straightforward – find a perfect place for the receiver, run the emitter cable to the device you want to control, and plug in the USB cable. You just have to make sure that the USB cable is long enough to reach the TV or some other USB power source.
The receiver can receive the signal from up to 28ft (it depends on the strength of the remote, too). The extender has been tested with numerous devices made by all kinds of brands and it’s safe to say that it is compatible with all the IR-controlled devices.
Things we don’t like
In some cases, you may experience a tiny lag when trying to control your AV receiver. It’s not a dealbreaker, but it can be annoying.
4. Best Cheap IR Remote Extender for Cable Boxes – Infrared Resources IR1040
The next device on our list of 7 best IR remote extenders in 2020 is IR1040 by Infrared Resources and it’s made specially for cable boxes. Unlike many other universal remote extenders, this one doesn’t work with AV receivers, smart TVs, and other IR-controlled devices.
Things we like
Inside a tiny box, you will find a single cable with an IR receiver on one end and a 3.5mm gold-plated stereo plug on the other. The cable is 9ft long.
The extender is compatible with cable boxes with an active IR input port on the back of the box, usually labeled as IR IN or EXT. The device doesn’t come with a power adapter – the power is supplied through the 3.5mm port (liked portable wired headphones.
The extender is compatible with a wide range of cable boxes including Verizon Fios cable boxes. If the device is compatible with your cable box, it will deliver flawless performance.
Things we don’t like
The extender is not compatible with AV receivers, smart TVs, and other IR repeater kits.
It would be smart to check with the manufacturer if the extender is compatible with your cable box (it is not compatible with all the cable boxes on the market). There’s also a compatibility list on the Infrared Resources LLC official webpage.
5. Best Cheap IR Remote Extender with Extra-Long Cable – Nextronics XL
Nextronics XL is very similar to the previously reviewed BAFX 1445 universal IR extender but with a significantly longer cable. It’s a great choice in case you have to cover greater distances.
Things we like
Nextronics XL comes in a simple box. It’s basically one cable with three ends. On one end, there’s a USB connector for power supply. On the other end, there’s an IR receiver and on the third end, there’s a tiny IR emitter. The distance between the emitter and receiver is 25ft, which gives you a lot of flexibility when it comes to installation.
Nextronics XL is a dual-band IR remote extender with an extended range between the receiver and remote control (up to 30ft). It is compatible with most IR-controlled devices. The installation is simple and the performance is flawless.
Things we don’t like
CFL and other sources of bright light may cause some interference.
The USB wall adapter is not included in the package – the only way to supply power is through the USB port on your TV or some other AV equipment.
6. Best Wireless IR/RF kit Under $60 – StarTech IREXT2
The next device is similar to the first extender on our list (Sewell BlastIR Wireless Pro), but it’s not as versatile and doesn’t support multizone control. The good thing about this kit is that the transmitter and receiver don’t have to be connected through wires and can communicate through walls and wood (they communicate via RF).
Things we like
Inside a simple cardboard box, you will find two units labeled as receiver and transmitter, one IR extender probe (a piece of wire with an IR eye on its end), two power adapters, and a user manual.
The receiver and transmitter units look almost exactly the same. The receiver unit has an additional port on the back for connecting the IR extender probe.
The installation is simple and fast. Those labels (receiver/transmitter) are maybe confusing since the transmitter unit receives the IR signal from your remote. The labels on the devices refer to the RF communication between them. So, the transmitter receives the IR signal, converts it to an RF signal, and then transmits it to the receiver. The receiver receives the RF signal, converts it to the IR signal, and sends it to the device you want to control. The installation is done in just a few minutes.
The receiver and transmitter communicate through radio frequency (433.92MHz) and don’t have to be connected to each other through wires. They can communicate through walls and wood (no line of sight) and the maximum range is 330ft.
The kit is compatible with all kinds of IR-controlled devices including AV receivers, smart TVs, cable boxes, DVD and Blu-ray players, etc. The performance is flawless – no delays or missed commands.
Things we don’t like
Placing the receiver unit can be tricky since it has to be placed directly in front of the IR eye of the device you want to control. Using the included IR probe extender is a much easier option.
IREXT2 kit doesn’t support multizone control. You can’t buy multiple kits and use them to control multiple devices across your house since all the kits work on the same frequency and there could be some interference.
7. Best-Looking IR Remote Extender Kit – Next Generation 433 KIT
433 KIT is a cool-looking wireless IR remote extender kit. It uses a similar working principle as the previously reviewed StarTech IREXT2 but has a much cooler design.
Things we like
The packaging includes one RF receiver that looks like a flying saucer, two mini AAA rechargeable NiMH batteries, an RF transmitter that looks like a standard AAA battery, AA sleeve/adapter, IR emitter cable, and a power adapter for the RF receiver.
This is, by far, the most interesting solution when it comes to IR extenders. It’s not the most capable and doesn’t give you the best possible range, but it looks really cool.
Just like the Sewell BlastIR Wireless Pro and StarTech IREXT2, NextGen 433 KIT also has the RF transmitter and RF receiver. The difference is that the RF transmitter actually looks like a AAA battery and goes inside your remote. You are supposed to insert the included mini rechargeable battery inside the AAA RF transmitter and replace one of the batteries from your IR remote with this transmitter. If you need to recharge the batteries, there’s a charging compartment inside the RF receiver. Once you are done installing the RF transmitter, you can position the RF receiver, connect the included IR emitter cable if necessary, and plug it in.
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The kit offers very good performance and is compatible with most IR-controlled devices. The range goes up to 100ft and the signal can travel through walls and wood.
Things we don’t like
The included mini batteries don’t last as long as regular AAA batteries and you have to replace them every 2-3 months. The good news is that you don’t have to buy batteries since they are rechargeable.
You can use the RF receiver base without the included IR emitter cable but positioning can be really tricky. It’s definitely recommended to use the included IR emitter cable.
This was our selection of 7 Best IR remote extenders in 2020. Hopefully, it helped you find the perfect IR remote extender for your needs or at least understand what kind of device you need for your home theater or surround sound setup. If you want to expand your knowledge and find out more, we recommend you to go through our FAQ section. In case you have additional questions or want to share your experience, leave us a comment below.
Q: What is an IR remote extender?
A: IR remote extender is a simple device that allows you to control your audio/video equipment (Blu-ray players, DVD players, cable boxes, streaming boxes, AV receivers) even when there’s no clear line of sight between the remote and that equipment.
Q: How do I extend my IR remote range?
A: You can extend your IR remote range in just a few minutes by attaching an IR remote extender kit (IR receiver and IR emitter) to the equipment you want to control.
Q: Do TV remotes work through the wood?
A: If you have an IR remote (and you probably do), then no. IR signal requires a clear line of sight between the transmitter (remote) and the receiver (the device you want to control). IR remote won’t work if there is any obstacle between the remote and the piece of audio/video equipment you want to control.
Q: What to pay attention to when buying an IR remote extender?
A: There are two main things to consider when buying an IR remote extender – the type of extender and the setup you want to control.
Some remote extenders support only one infrared frequency band (33-43 kHz) while some support both common infrared frequency bands (33-43kHz and 44-60kHz). Those that support both bands (dual-band extenders) are a safer choice and they will be compatible with all of your audio and video equipment. Singe-band IR remote extenders will be compatible with some equipment but not with all. One additional thing you should have in mind is the RC-MM support, which is a newer IR standard that can be found on a growing number of cable boxes. If you need an IR extender for your cable box, make sure that it supports RC-MM.
Some remote extenders are hybrids – their work is based on the combined use of RF (radio frequencies) and IR (infrared frequencies). They are convenient since they don’t require a clear line of sight between the transmitter and receiver.
When it comes to the setup you want to control, you have to think about the distance you have to cover, the number of devices you want to control and their location, and the number of available power outlets (or USB ports).
Q: How do I connect my IR extender?
A: That is a fairly simple procedure and should take just a few minutes. For more complicated setups (when you want to control multiple devices located in different rooms), it may take a bit longer but it’s still really simple. The IR receiver is supposed to be installed somewhere around your TV (within the line of sight). If the IR emitter doesn’t use RF frequency to communicate with the IR receiver, then it has to be connected to the receiver. In some cases, there’ll be a distribution block between the receiver and transmitter that serves as the hub. If the IR receiver and IR emitter use RF frequency to communicate with each other, then there’s no need for a physical connection between them and they can be located in different rooms.
Q: How do I know if my remote is RF or IR?
A: Try directing the remote towards the device it controls and place an obstacle (like a book or a piece of wood) between the remote and the device you want to control. If you are still able to control the device, it’s probably RF remote. If nothing happens, it’s probably IR remote. IR remotes require a clear line of sight to work, while the RF remotes don’t.
Q: What is the best IR remote extender in 2020?
A: Unfortunately, we can’t give you a single answer since different setups (and budgets) require different types of IR remote extenders. Our list of 7 best IR remote extenders in 2020 has something to offer for every setup and every budget – you just have to go through our list and find the device that meets your requirements. If you are interested in the most reputable brands, we can recommend Sewell and BAFX.
Hello, my name is James Longman.
I’m a writer and editor at AudioReputation. I disassembled my first portable AM/FM radio when I was only 8. At the age of 11, I burned the circuit board on my old boombox cassette player. I’m not going to explain how but it was reckless and stupid.
Since then, I have become much more careful around radios, boomboxes, and other audio devices (at least, I like to think so) but I have never lost the passion for audio equipment. Throughout 20 years of my professional career, I’ve been working for various audio equipment manufacturers and even started building speakers on my own in my little workshop.
I love the work we do here at AudioReputation. Testing, comparing, and evaluating all kinds of audio devices (speakers, soundbars, headphones, home theater systems, etc.) is something I truly enjoy. I try to be unbiased and give you my honest opinion on every piece of equipment I test. Still, you should take my reviews with a pinch of salt and always be just a little bit skeptical. The fact that I liked some speaker or soundbar doesn’t mean that you are going to love it. If you have the opportunity, you should test it/hear it before buying it.