When trying to replace a lost or broken Roku remote, you can quickly fall down a rabbit hole of options.
Between Roku’s various replacement remotes, apps that turn your phone into a remote, and countless unofficial alternatives, the best choice isn’t always obvious. This guide will help you sort through the possibilities.
But for Roku smart TVs or recently purchased players, replacing the remote makes more sense. Read on for your options.
First, troubleshoot a misbehaving Roku remote
Before you replace your Roku remote, try fixing the one you already have. Roku itself has an extensive support guide, but here are the main takeaways:
Try replacing the batteries, or recharging the internal battery for the Voice Remote Pro.
Restart your Roku.
Remove and reinsert the batteries.
Pair the remote again: Hold the pairing button in the battery compartment for 20 seconds, release, then press and hold for another five seconds, and wait another 30 seconds.
For Roku’s Streaming Stick models, try an HDMI extender to prevent interference. (Roku will send you one for free.)
Connect the Roku player or TV to your router’s 5GHz network if possible, as this can also prevent interference. That Wi-Fi frequency band has shorter range, but it’s less crowded.
If none of that works, and you’re no longer eligible for a replacement under warranty, it’s time to consider swapping out the remote.
Option 1: Roku’s official replacement remotes
Roku currently sells three replacement remotes, but not all of them are compatible with every Roku model.
Roku Simple Remote ($15):This basic Roku remote uses an infrared emitter that requires line-of-sight to the Roku, so it’s won’t work Roku’s Streaming Stick models. It also lacks TV volume or power controls, so you can’t use it with Roku TVs. There’s also no voice control. I’d suggest avoiding this one.
Roku Voice Remote ($20): This standard Roku remote uses a “point anywhere” connection, and as such, it’s compatible with all but the very earliest Roku models. Volume and power buttons are also included, so it works with Roku TVs from TCL, Sharp, Hisense, and other vendors. It even supports TVs and players that shipped with an infrared remote, and it has a microphone for voice control, making it a fine all-around option or upgrade.
Roku Voice Remote Pro ($30):Roku’s fanciest remote adds a headphone jack for private listening, two programmable buttons, a remote-finder function (triggered via Roku’s mobile app), and hands-free “Hey Roku” voice commands. It also has a rechargeable battery built in.
Option 2: Replace a physical remote with the Roku app
Jared Newman / Foundry
If you’d rather not buy another remote, you can always use Roku’s mobile app for iOS and Android. It offers on-screen buttons that mimic an actual Roku player, along with shortcuts to quickly launch apps and content. You can also connect a set of headphones or earbuds to your phone for private listening. Just note that you’ll need to set up HDMI-CEC on your TV or use a separate remote to turn the TV on.
A word of caution: Unofficial Roku remote apps run rampant in the iOS and Android app stores, and many of them either demand payment or bombard you with ads. Avoid these options and use the links above to get the real deal.
An exception: Reelgood’s iOS and Android apps are a great alternative way to control your Roku. You can create a watchlist for tracking your favorite shows, launch content directly on the Roku, and access an on-screen remote for basic controls.
Option 3: Replace your remote with an unofficial Roku remote
Look on Amazon, and you’ll find countless lookalike Roku remote replacements from obscure vendors, some selling for less than $10. None of them support voice control, however, and device compatibility can vary.
Most of these remotes, for instance, only support an infrared connection, so they have no pairing process and are incompatible with Roku’s Streaming Stick models. Others, meanwhile, are only compatible with Roku TVs, and not with any Roku players. Read the descriptions carefully, and make sure these devices are eligible for return if you end up buying the wrong remote.
A premium option: If you don’t mind spending a bit more, I recommend One for All’s $25 Streamer Remote, which I wrote about a couple of years ago. This programmable infrared remote works with Roku TVs from TCL, Hisense, Sharp, and others. It also supports the Roku Express and the Roku Ultra, but like the cheaper remotes above, it doesn’t support Roku’s Streaming Sticks.
Jared Newman / IDG
One for All’s remote has lots of neat features that aren’t available on Amazon’s cheaper lookalikes, including backlit keys, an input switcher, macro support, and channel up/down buttons for your TV antenna. You can also program it to control a TV, AV system, and a Roku player, all with a single remote. In my testing, the IR emitter works from up to 20 feet away, and the remote has a hefty feel with comfy, rubberized buttons.
On the downside, setting it up involves programming some key codes found in a printed manual. And like the cheaper options above, it doesn’t support voice control.
As I’ve written before, the remote control can make or break the entire streaming experience, being the thing you interact with more than anything else. Whatever replacement you choose, make sure you enjoy using it.
Jared Newman has been helping folks make sense of technology for over a decade, writing for PCWorld, TechHive, and elsewhere. He also publishes two newsletters, Advisorator for straightforward tech advice and Cord Cutter Weekly for saving money on TV service.