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The Nintendo Wii represents the company’s fifth foray into home gaming consoles. They rolled it out in 2006 as part of the seventh generation of gaming systems overall. Nintendo seems to place a focus on interactive, cooperative or competitive play, and the Wii system created a new way in which players could engage in this kind of gaming.

By using special remotes, gamers could perform more physical actions to move characters in a game, complete objectives, and progress through the stories. These remotes are something gamers can hold in a fashion that is typical of the original device one might use for a television set, and they feature buttons, joysticks, and bumpers that you might find on many of the more traditional gaming controllers.

Most Wii remote models that you can find are wireless, a form factor that can encourage a greater range of movement further away from the TV screen. To facilitate this, the remotes use batteries for power, and some players wonder if the controllers have rechargeable batteries or packs. We will answer this question in today’s article, and we’ll also cover whether all Wii controllers always need batteries in order to function.

Furthermore, we will discuss the types of batteries you should be able to use in Wii remotes, whether they might work without any batteries at all, how to sync them, and some troubleshooting tips for when your devices might stop working unexpectedly.

Depositphotos_11945989_S Ready to Play wii controller

Do Wii Controllers Need Batteries?

Yes, Wii controllers need some kind of battery power in order to operate effectively. The Wii remote works in conjunction with several sensors.

When you pick up the remote from a resting position, the sensors try to determine what movements you are making with your gaming hand. The console translates these movements into actions in a game. In order to do this, and to give players enough room to stand, change positions, and move around, the developers of the remote opted to give it battery power.

Some older consoles and their controls had cables that you could use to make a physical connection between the entertainment systems and their peripherals.

In theory, this is a method that might have worked fine for the Wii remote. However, it is a device that requires the player to move around much more than a standard gaming controller would. Furthermore, many games for the Nintendo Wii encourage multiple gamers to play at once.

With all of these factors, the system would have needed to account for several very long cords in order to accommodate everything. These cords could present tripping hazards, or players could have yanked them out of the system accidentally. To bypass these issues, the makers of the Wii decided that a battery-operated remote control was the best option.

Over the years, the developers at Nintendo further refined the charging processes that gamers could use for the Wii controllers. In later editions, players had the option to purchase docking or charging stations that could work with the remotes.

In these cases, the gamers would swap out more traditional batteries for charger packs that they could plug into the battery ports on the back of the controllers. Once done, players could set drained Wii remotes in the docking station to recharge back to their full capacities.

Are Wii Controllers Rechargeable?

Technically, Wii remotes are not rechargeable on their own. Although we mentioned the addition of battery packs and docking stations above, console owners would still need to purchase these additional accessories in order to turn the remotes into items that they can recharge at their convenience.

Additionally, Wii remotes don’t come with their own batteries for use or recharging. You may be able to find aftermarket deals that include controllers, batteries, battery packs, or all three items in one. However, this is not a part of the standard Wii remote package that comes with consoles straight off the shelf.

Can You Use Rechargeable Batteries in Wii Remotes?

Yes, gamers can choose to use rechargeable batteries in their remotes. This can make it much easier to keep playing your favorite games, particularly if you’re able to keep a few sets of batteries always charged at full strength. That way, you can swap out dead batteries for fresh ones in the middle of a session.

However, the ability of the remotes to use rechargeable batteries does come with at least one caveat that is important for readers to keep in mind. Although it is fine to use rechargeable batteries with the remote controllers, Nintendo recommends that players only use a specific type of battery in order to get the best results from their gaming experiences.

You can purchase rechargeable batteries with different form factors and compositions on the market, but the company recommends that you use only nickel metal hydride batteries in the Wii controllers. Additionally, the company lists various other battery types that it explicitly does not recommend to players.

Among these potentially harmful batteries are Nickel cadmium, carbon zinc, and lithium ion batteries. The compositions of these battery types may interact with the Wii remote’s internal components in ways that are harmful to the accessory.

This instruction regarding proper battery type is the only hard rule that Nintendo offers players when it comes to recharging the controller. However, the company also makes a few other suggestions about rechargeables.

For example, Nintendo does not think it is a good idea to mix two different brands of batteries into one Wii controller. Players should not mix new and used batteries on one controller at the same time, either. Rather, gamers should always take both dead or low batteries out and replace them simultaneously.

Depositphotos_26824549_S Red Wii Control

Can You Use a Wii Remote Without Batteries?

The Wii controller needs some form of power source in order to run. In most cases, this source is going to come from a pair of standard AA batteries.

However, thanks to the packs and charging docks that we touched on earlier, players now have another option that can help the Wii remote run smoothly. The packs take the place of batteries, but they are still a form of removable power that the controllers need in order to activate and connect to the console.

Can Wii Remotes Stop Working After Putting in New Batteries?

Yes, there are situations in which the Wii controller may cease to function after putting in new batteries. If this happens to one of your remotes, there are a few tips you can try that may help you to troubleshoot and solve the issue:

1. The top sensors on the remotes help them to interface with the console, but dirt and debris that you cannot see may be clogging them up. If this happens, it could cause problems that mean the remote cannot turn on.

You can use isopropyl alcohol to rub and clean this surface gently. This may get rid of any interference, and you can see if the Wii will turn on again. It may be prudent to remove and reinsert the batteries, too.

2. In some cases, the battery contact points may not make secure connections to the batteries themselves. Check to make sure these parts of the Wii remote are clean and free of obstructions.

You might also take a look to see if they appear to be bent or have somehow disconnected themselves from the frame. Once you fix these issues, see if the remote turns on again.

3. Try different Wii remotes to see if others might not work. If they don’t, consider clearing all sync instances from the console.

4. To clear the syncs, you can open the front of the console’s SD cover.

5. Find the appropriate button, and press and hold it for at least 15 seconds in order to clear the syncs that are active.

6. Resync the remotes to see if they work.

How Do I Sync My Wii Remote After Changing the Battery?

If you need to re-sync your remote, you can follow these steps:

  1. Activate the console.
  2. As before, open the slot covering for the SD card.
  3. Open the battery cover on your remote. You may have a model that uses a hole on the battery cover to access it without the need to open it first.
  4. Press the sync button on the Wii controller.
  5. Once the lights on the remote start to blink, press the same button on the Wii console.
  6. Wait for the lights to stop blinking and become solid, indicating that your remote is ready.


Wii remotes are a fun take on the usual gaming console controller, and they allow for different modes of play between friends. Although they are not rechargeable themselves, they do take particular types of rechargeable batteries or charger packs.

You can use the packs in conjunction with a charging dock for greater versatility when it comes to keeping your remotes at full power. If there are any syncing or operational issues when you try to use your controller, you can try some of our guidelines above.