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Can You Use A Universal Remote On A Roku?

We all get frustrated juggling multiple remotes to manage our devices along with a Roku, especially when you get stuck and can’t find the one you need. Wouldn’t it be easier if one universal remote worked for all these devices? Universal remotes do exist, but do they function with a Roku?

A handful of universal remotes work with Roku, though the button support of each varies. Some universal remotes offer only rudimentary control functions. To connect a compatible remote to your Roku, locate the code for Roku devices in the user manual of your universal remote control for Roku.

Unfortunately, not all universal remotes offer complete access to the button controls present on the original Roku remote. To make sure you find a good option, we’ve gathered some of the best universal remotes for Roku options available, and we’ve outlined the configuration process as well.    

Do Universal Remotes Work on a Roku?

Hand holding TV remote control with a television

So, do universal remotes work with Roku? Yes, some universal remotes work perfectly with a Roku. To find out which ones are compatible, you can visit our separate article on how to tell the Roku remotes apart and how to use a universal remote with different devices. Many people look for a Roku replacement remote for a Roku player after it’s started acting up, but we think you should consider a Universal Remote as a better upgrade for most home theater enthusiasts.

How to Connect a Universal Remote to a Roku

Usually, it’s a breeze to link a universal remote with your Roku, as long as you’ve got one of the compatible remotes.

  1. Check Compatibility: You’ll need your remote’s model name and number to match the options listed on Roku’s remote control compatibility page. Check the front, rear, or inside the battery compartment of the remote to find its model.
  2. Enter Programming Mode: Put your universal remote into programming mode. This process varies by remote, so consult your remote’s manual for specific instructions.
  3. Enter Roku TV Code: Once in programming mode, enter the Roku TV code. This is typically a three or four-digit number associated with Roku in your universal remote’s manual.
  4. Test the Remote: After entering the code, test the remote to see if it controls essential functions such as power, volume, and channel on your Roku device.

Depending on the remote you program with your Roku, there may be certain limitations to the controls and functions available.

Where To Find Roku Remote Code

The Roku universal remote code for programming to a Roku device can vary depending on the brand of the universal remote. Roku provides a list of codes that correspond to different remote control brands.

To find the code, pay attention to your Roku TV’s user manual for a list of remote codes under the programming instructions section.

Additionally, check the manufacturer’s website for a downloadable document containing list of remote codes by navigating to the support or manuals section and searching for your TV model.

Different Types of Button Support

Not every universal remote will work the same with your Roku. There are two levels of button support you can find when programming a universal remote with your Roku.

  • Basic remotes control essential functions like power, volume, and input selection.
  • Expanded remotes include additional buttons such as home, navigation (up, down, right, left), back, replay, options, reverse scan, forward scan, and play/pause in addition to Basic functions.

There are also some older Roku remotes that simply don’t have a pairing button. You’re probably going to use a universal remote if you’re here (and we recommend you do!) yet if you happen to have an older Roku remote you’re trying to get working, this guide addresses pairing a Roku remote without a pairing button on it.

What Are the Best Universal Remotes for Roku?

Universal Remote

Among the universal remotes available, you will find a wide range of options in terms of quality and features.

Here are some of the recommendations you might like to know about:


RCA’s Big Button Universal Remote (on Amazon) is the most popular option for Roku and many other devices. This is a great and cheaper option than the original Roku remote, and it mimics the functionality of every button from the native remote.

Check out our guide on RCA Universal Remote codes so you can learn other ways to use these remotes, and how to program them.

Third-Party Replacements

Did you know you can go for a third-party replacement remote (on Amazon) if you’re looking for an even cheaper option? Many of these options copy the design and function of the original remote.

Logitech Harmony Remote

Another popular universal Roku remote, the Logitech Harmony (on Amazon), happens to be a bit pricey. But if you’re looking for quality, this is an excellent choice. You can program this remote with almost any device.

Can You Use Your Phone as a Roku Remote?

It is possible to use your phone as a Roku remote. Do so by installing the Roku app on your Android or iOS smartphone.

Once you’ve done that, all you need to do is choose your Roku streaming device when prompted during the app’s first launch.

However, you may need the original Roku remote to complete the setup of your phone as a remote. This is because you need to allow your Roku device to accept commands over WiFi.

If that option is disabled, you need to use your original Roku remote to change the settings as follows:

  1. Press the home button on your Roku remote.
  2. Navigate to ‘Settings’ using the arrow keys.
  3. Go to ‘Advanced System Settings’ under the ‘System’ option.
  4. Click on ‘Control by Mobile Apps’ within the menu.
  5. Choose ‘Default’ among the three options under ‘Network Access.’
  6. It’s necessary that both your Roku and phone are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.

How Do I Configure the Roku App Remote?

To use the remote from the Roku app, press the remote icon. There are two different ways to configure the remote arrow keys. One is the ‘Traditional’ design and the other is the ‘Swipe’ design.

The traditional setting provides typical arrow buttons to work with, while the swipe setting allows you to use finger gestures to control the arrow buttons. If you need to switch between these settings, select the settings icon on the Roku app and change the Remote type accordingly.

Universal Remote Not Working On Roku?

If you are having trouble with getting your universal remote to work after programming it, remember to check the remote’s batteries and ensure compatibility. Here are some additional troubleshooting steps to take:

  1. Reset Roku Device: Power cycle your Roku device by unplugging it for a few seconds and then plugging it back in. You may experience issues with Wi-Fi after resetting, and we have a guide for this as well.
  2. Check Remote Buttons: Examine the remote buttons for any physical damage or debris.
  3. Contact Support: If troubleshooting steps don’t resolve the issue, reach out to the universal remote manufacturer’s customer support or Roku support for further assistance.
  4. Try Another Remote: If possible, test your Roku device with another compatible universal remote to determine if the issue lies with the original remote.

Expanding Your TV’s Functionality

You’ll find that using a universal remote–and using it with more devices over time–can enhance the experience of managing your home theater system. You can even use a Roku and Firestick at the same time! You should lean into that optimization, taking advantage of the situation by even adding more than one streaming device to your TV, now that you have one remote to manage them all! And if you have other issues, like a Roku TV powering off randomly, just know that we have resources to help you get through those issues too!