How to Check if a Checkbox is Checked in React

To check if a checkbox is checked in React:

  1. Create a boolean state variable to store the value of the checkbox.
  2. Set an onChange event listener on the input checkbox.
  3. In the listener, use the event object’s target.checked property to check if the checkbox is checked.
  4. Store the checked value in a state variable to be able to check whether the checkbox is checked from outside the event listener.
import { useState } from 'react'; export default function App() { const [agreement, setAgreement] = useState(false); const handleChange = (event) => { setAgreement(; } return ( <div> <div id="app"> <input type="checkbox" name="agreement" onChange={handleChange} /> <label for="agreement"> I agree to the terms and conditions </label> <br /><br /> <button disabled={!agreement}>Continue</button> </div> </div> ); }
The button is disabled depending on the checkbox's checked value.
The button is disabled depending on the checkbox’s checked value.

The event object’s target property represents the checkbox input element; the value of its checked property indicates whether the checkbox is checked or not.

The event object is passed to the onChange listener, which will be invoked whenever the checkbox is checked or unchecked.

We use the useState React hook to store the checkbox’s checked state. useState returns an array of two values; the first is a variable that stores the state, and the second is a function that updates the state when it is called.

So every time the checkbox is checked or unchecked, the agreement state variable will be automatically toggled to true or false.

We set the button’s disabled prop to the negation of agreement to disable and enable it when agreement is true and false respectively.

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Check if checkbox is checked with ref

Instead of controlling the checkbox’s checked value with React state, we can create an uncontrolled checkbox and check whether it is checked with a ref.

For example:

import { useState, useRef } from 'react'; export default function App() { const [message, setMessage] = useState(''); const checkbox = useRef(); const handleClick = () => { if (checkbox.current.checked) { setMessage('You know JS'); } else { setMessage("You don't know JS"); } } return ( <div> <div id="app"> <input type="checkbox" name="js" ref={checkbox} /> <label for="js"> JavaScript </label> <br /> <button onClick={handleClick}>Done</button> <p>{message}</p> </div> </div > ); }
A message depending on the checkbox's checked value is displayed.
A message depending on the checkbox’s checked value is displayed.

The data in a controlled input is handled by React state, but for uncontrolled inputs, it is handled by the DOM itself. This is why the input checkbox in the example above doesn’t have a value prop or onChange event handler set. Instead, we check if the checkbox is checked with a React ref. The DOM updates the checked value when the user toggles the checkbox.

We create a ref object with the useRef hook and assign it to the ref prop of the checkbox input. Doing this sets the current property of the ref object to the DOM object that represents the checkbox.

useRef returns a mutable object that maintains its value when a component updates. Also, modifying the value of this object’s current property doesn’t cause a re-render. This is unlike the setState update function return from the useState hooks.

Although the React documentation recommends using controlled components, uncontrolled components offer some advantages. You might prefer them if the form is very simple and doesn’t need instant validation, and values only need to be accessed when the form is submitted.

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