There are arguably more online slots out there on the net than any other type of casino titles. We’re talking, quite literally, about thousands of slots.
However, rather than playing any old run of the mill release, players should be aiming to play the very best online slots and games.
How do you find decent slots online, though, and what are the best online slots to play? Even in exotic countries like Panama?
Throughout this article, we will look not just at the best online slots, but also how to play slot games.
We’ll provide you with tips, advice and a walkthrough to the most commonly found features in the game.
This is our guide to the best online slot machines, and it will tell you everything you need to know about them in 2023.
Top Casinos with Highly-Rated Slots in 20 January 2023 – Updated List
Things to Note About Playing Top Slots Online
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of slot games, it is worth pointing out a few things. Get your notebook ready, because you’re going to want to remember these three essential facts about top slot machine games.
– A Surplus of Great Games: First and foremost, there is a surplus of great games for you to play. The exact number of games may never be known, but as we said a moment ago, the number of slots out there is easily in the thousands. They cover all sorts of different games, too, with themes, paylines, features, wagers and prizes all varying greatly from release to release.
– Solid Software Providers: While the number of software providers out there may not be as many as individual slot games, you still have a sizeable list to choose from. These include major international providers, fledgeling developers and yes, poor software producers who aren’t worth your time. The types of software providers (and thus, games) which are available to you may depend on where you reside, but also where your chosen casino is licensed.
– Top Welcome Promos for Use on High Payout Slots: Not every player can afford to splash the cash on high stakes slots. Fortunately, online casinos tend to dish out numerous promotions and bonuses, which will help you play the best payout slots online. These range from welcome bonuses to deposit bonuses, 30 free spins no deposit required, slots tournaments and prize draws, and much more besides. We’ll look closer at bonuses and promos for use on slots in a little while. For now, it is crucial for you to note that these options do exist if you need a little extra financial backing when playing online.
The Ins and Outs of Online Slots
Even if you haven’t played an online slot before, there is a reasonably good chance that you will already know how they work or at least understand the gist of them. You will know that there are several reels, which showcase different symbols when spun. You will also know that you need to line up identical symbols on “paylines” to win prizes. However, there is much more to internet slots than that.
When playing online slots, you will also experience wild and scatter symbols, bonus features, adjustable wagers, progressive jackpots, and much more besides. If these all seem alien to you, you needn’t worry. We’re about to dive into these features, and the parts they can play in separating good slot games from bad ones.
Test-Drive Slots for Free
After you’ve finished reading our guide, it may be in your interest to try your hand at some of the best free slots online. Why would you play for free, when you want to win real money? It’s a good question, and there is an equally as good answer.
Because many slots are quite different from their counterparts, you will likely stumble across a slot machine which you aren’t entirely sure how to play. When this happens, it is ideal to play it for free first. This will enable you to understand how it works in a risk-free environment.
While you cannot win real money doing this, you can gain valuable practice and experience. Moreover, you won’t lose any money, either.
Free slots can be found at online casinos themselves, at the software providers’ webpages, and casino review sites like ours.
The latter can also be useful for another reason. These slots can provide you with the best free online slot reviews. These in-depth guides will tell you all you need to know about games. That is particularly handy if you’re thinking of playing new slot machines which you don’t know anything about.
Playing Real Money Slots
Once you’ve comfortable with slot features and have, perhaps, tried your hand at free play demos, it may be time to play the best online slots for real money. Before you can play online slots for real money, you need to find the best sites offering those games. We’ve created other guides to help you find such casinos and take full advantage of them.
Because you’re going to be spending money to play slots (you will also potentially win real money), it is vital that you play the right sort of games. You wouldn’t want to waste your money on a slot you hate now, would you? The best online slots for real money will all have many things in common, and we’re going to look at those now. Before we do, though, you’re going to need to know how to set up bets and how to wager on slots if you’re going to play them for real money.
Setting Up Your Bets – Reels, Paylines and Stakes
The best slot game and the worst slot game online will generally all be built upon the same structure. In short, reels and paylines. However, many of the wagering options open to players in the best online casino slots will be considerably more flexible and agreeable than those fund in, well, rubbish ones. Getting to grips with these elements is essential. Here is what you can typically find when you start out wagering on slots for the very first time.
- Reels: Reels (also known as drums in land-based games) are the large cylinders that spin. They are covered with symbols. A typical online slot will have been 3 and 5 of them, although some may have more.
- Paylines: Across the reels, sit paylines. You won’t be able to see the paylines in most cases, but they represent lines which cut their way across the reels in different directions. Players will win prizes when they land identical symbols on these lines. Three-reel slots will typically feature between 1 and 5 of them. Video slots often have between 10 and 25, although some (especially newer games) may offer tens, even hundreds of thousands of lines.
- Coin Values: The best online slots will allow players to adjust the value of their coins. Coin values usually start at $0.01 but can rise a lot higher, often up to $10. Players need to choose a coin size which fits their balance before wagering.
- Number of Coins: Many slots will allow players to wager multiple coins, too. The total amount of coins you stake will be wagered per payline.
- The Mathematics of a Bet: The basic mathematics behind most slot bets is this: the value of your coins multiplied by the number of coins multiplied by the number of lines. For instance, on a 30-line slot; if you select a $0.01 coin, and wager 10 of those per line, you’re looking at bets which cost $0.30 per line, or $3 per spin.
- When Bets Don’t “Match” Paylines: Not all slots play ball with wagering mathematics. In fact, some offer you great deals. It is not uncommon to get a two-for-one deal on paylines in some slots. They may provide you with 50 lines for $0.25 a spin. Slots with 243 paylines are handy, too. They can often cost as little as $0.30 per spin. MegaWays slots can provide you tens of thousands of lines for under $1. These games offer you more paylines for a lower stake than you’d expect. Because of this, don’t be surprised if the prizes you can win are reduced from those you’ll find in slots where the standard wagering mathematics hold up.
A Quick Word About Variance, Volatility and RTP
When playing online, you may come across the terms, variance, volatility, risk and RTP. These are going to be tricky for you to wrap your hard around at first, but it is worth learning what they are. This is especially so if you want to find the best online slots’ payout percentages. Think of them as a way of determining online slots with the best odds of success. We’ll give you a brief explanation here.
– Variance/Volatility: Variance and volatility are other names for risk. They are how a slot has been programmed to pay out its prizes, and how you’re going to have to wager to win.
– RTP (Return to Player) Rate: The RTP rate determines how much of a bet a casino keeps and how much is available to be won. For instance, if a slot has an RTP of 95%, the slot will keep 5% of all bets. The other 95% of the stake will be redistributed to players over an infinite number of spins.
If you happen to be using a tighter budget than most other players, the slots with low variance/volatility are ideal for you. These games pay out frequently but tend to cough up smaller sums of cash for prizes. By contrast, high variance (high-risk) slots pay out vast amounts of money. The downside is that they don’t do so very frequently. When thinking of playing high risk or high limits slots, the best online casino for online slot machines such as this tend to be high-roller or VIP sites. You can, in theory, find them anywhere, though. Regardless of the volatility of the game you play, high RTP rates are what you should be looking for. The industry standard is 95% – 96%.
One way you can rather rapidly find out the volatility, risk, variance and return to player rates of the best slots is to read online reviews. You can find many at this site.
Classic Slots vs. Video Slots – What’s the Difference?
Now that you have any idea about how to bet, and what type of variance to aim for, it is time to look at different types of slots. The best paying online slots tend to be video slots. Classic slots, by contrast, tend to be high variance games.
Video slots are played with 5 reels, lots of features and many paylines. Classic slots represent the one-armed bandits of yesteryear or the pub fruit machines of the 80s and 90s. They often feature simple gameplay, very few special features, 3 reels and often just a single payline.
Even though they are suitable for decent payouts, the best video slots online are no better or worse than many other types of slot games. Let’s look at the broader genres and types of slots you can play.
The Many Faces and Formats of Online Slots
The best online gambling slots could be classic slots and fruit machines, or they could be video slots. They could be any of the other types of games out there, too. The best real online slots are those which you are happy playing, and which dish out decent (and fair) prizes in relation to their bets. Slots can fall into all the following categories, and it is up to you to decide which one favours your chosen playing style.
– Classic Slots and Fruit Machines: Often played with just 3 reels and very few paylines. These slots offer up classic symbols such as bars, bells and fruit. If they have special features, they will be minimal.
– Video Slots: The industry norm for slots. These games feature 5 reels and many paylines. They will often have many special features woven into their design and more flexible wagering ranges. On top of that, video slots are often themed.
– 3D Slots: Relatively the same as video slots, although they feature crisp 3D graphics and animation.
– Mobile Slots: Mobile slots can be either video or classic slots. The real difference here is that they have been designed to be mobile-friendly. In short, you can play them with your fingers and thumbs on the move.
– Cluster Slots: These games do not use paylines. Instead, players win by grouping together clusters of symbols on the reels.
– Progressive Jackpot Slots: Most video slots are non-progressive. This means that they have a fixed jackpot prize, which always remains the same. However, progressive jackpot slots have an uncapped jackpot. It will continue to rise with each new bet until it is won. Once it is, it resets to its default limit before rising once more.
– VR (Virtual Reality) Slots: A new concept, VR slots are mainly games played through a headset, which helps boost authenticity and realism. They are, in a sense, the online slot equivalent of live dealer table games.
Many of these slots have their own special symbols, and these can trigger features. It helps to know what those special symbols are and what they can do, so we’ll move onto those next.
Special Symbols Which Aid Players in Landing a Win
The best online slots will have special symbols. These can help trigger bonuses, make it easier to win and a host of other things. The best online slots reviews will tell you all you need to know about the symbols which appear in a specific slot, but we’ve covered the basic ones here.
– Wild Symbols: Wild symbols can substitute for standard paying icons to help players land a win. Think of them like jokers in a card pack. They come with all sorts of goodies, too, including sticky, expanding, multiplier, random, walking and stacked wilds.
– Scatter Symbols: Unlike other icons, which need to appear on paylines to count, scatter symbols count no matter where they land. They can dish out cash prizes, and will often trigger bonus rounds, too. If you’re wondering, scatter wilds are single symbols which perform the duties of both wilds and scatters.
– Bonus Symbols: These only appear on specific reels, but as their name suggests, their primary function is to trigger bonus rounds.
– Stacked/Colossal Symbols: These symbols are much larger than regular icons. They can appear stacked on top of one another, be several symbols deep, or can cover huge blocks, sometimes 2×2, 3×3 or even larger in size. They naturally make it easier to land a win.
– Mystery Symbols: Mystery symbols are like wilds. When they appear, they will transform all instances of themselves into the same symbol.
– Jackpot Symbols: Some online slots with the best payouts and prizes require players to land specific symbols on a line to bag the top prize. These symbols are known as jackpot icons.
Scatters and bonus symbols will often trigger special features in many slots. It is time we looked at these, and you may want to familiarise yourself with some of the more popular ones and what they can do for you.
Fab Features You Will Commonly Find in Slots
The most popular slot games will dish out a range of special features. You can read all about the types of special features in slots with our best online slot reviews. Here are some of the most frequently found bonus features.
- Expanding Reels/Lines: At times, the reels may grow larger, and when this happens, the number of paylines which appear may increase, too.
- Wheel Bonus: This type of bonus round will see players able to spin a wheel of fortune. Prizes often include cash, free spins or other special features.
- Click and Win/Pick Me Bonus: These bonuses simply require players to click on symbols or items to win instant cash prizes, free spins or jackpots.
- Base Game Modifiers: At times, base game modifiers may be triggered (often at random). These can add special symbols or multipliers to the reels.
- Free Spin Bonus: The most commonly offered slot bonus. The free spin round allows players to play a series of spins for free, often with a few exclusive perks worked into the design of the round to help them win.
- Collapsing/Avalanche/Tumbling Reels: When slots have collapsing, avalanche or tumbling reels, any winning symbols they land will be removed from the reels. New ones will drop down, effectively giving players a second shot at winning for free. Increasing multipliers may be included here.
- Gamble Feature: A gamble feature may be found in older slots. It allows slot players to gamble their winnings in a 50/50 game of chance.
- Nudge Feature: Nudges are commonly found in classic slots. They allow players to hold individual reels in place, and nudge other reels up or down, giving them a second chance to land a win.
- Re-Spin Bonus: The re-spin bonus is like a free spin round, although players have far fewer turns. Re-spin bonuses will often see just a few reels spin, as opposed to all of them.
- Win Both Ways: The Win Both Ways features can see players win with combinations which run from right to left, as well as the more conventional left to right pattern.
- Randomly Triggered Bonus: As their name suggests, these bonuses are not triggered by scatters, but at random. They can consist of anything and everything.
There are, of course, many more features for you to explore and stumble across when you play the best rated online slots, but those mentioned above are the ones you need to remember.
Boost Your Balance – Online Slot Bonuses
Throughout their time playing in the online casino world, players will have several chances to claim bonuses for use on slots. The opportunity to play the best rated online slots for real money with no deposit required is not to be missed. It is but just one of the bonuses you can claim when looking at the best online slots to play, though. They include…
– Free Spin Bonuses: Unlike free spins activated in a slot, this is not a bonus round. Playing the best online slots with free spin bonuses essentially just means that you can play for free for a limited number of turns.
– No Deposit Bonus: No deposit bonuses do not require players to pop money into their account. These bonuses can be free spins or small sums of cash. Either way, playing the best online slots with no deposit required is a bonus you’ll want to snap up.
– Match Deposit Bonuses: The most common form of casino bonus and the best bonus for slots, a match deposit bonus is a sum of cash given to players when they deposit. The amount you receive is often the equivalent of a percentage of your deposit. For instance, a 100% match on a $100 deposit will see you bag a $100 bonus, giving you $200 to play with.
Things to Remember When Playing Slots Online
There is no best online slots strategy which will see you win prizes in slots. You can’t count cards here. However, there are few tips and things to remember when betting on slots. Why not memorise these handy tips?
– Examine Progressives Carefully: Some slots may require players to land symbols on a payline to win a progressive. Others may require players to succeed in bonus rounds, and some may be triggered at random. The best-paying casino games will offer several jackpot prizes. Always pay attention to how a progressive is won before you play.
– Play Low Variance Slots: If you’re on a budget, opt to play low variance slots. Wins will be smaller, but they will be more frequent. High variance slots are likely to see you run out of funds before that big win comes along.
– Play at Casinos Which Pay: Some casinos have withdrawal caps, limited what you can withdraw per month. The best sites will always pay out progressives in full, in one lump sum.
– Stick to the Hits: It is best to play the most popular slot machines when you’re starting out for the first time. Popular slot machines have decent RTP rates, good prizes and quality special features.
– Wagers vs. Lines: It might seem ideal playing cheap slots with lots of lines but keep an eye on the prizes they offer. Slots which offer you too good of a deal with paylines may have dropped the value of their prizes to compensate.
Gaming on the Go – Mobile Slots
While it is possible to find the best iPad slots at a site, or even a casino which offers the best Android online slots, most domains offer instant play games which are mobile-friendly. These are regular online slots which can be played in the browser of your tablet or smartphone, so they are compatible with both iOS (Apple) and Android devices.
Staying Safe By Playing at Secure and Licensed Casinos
It is essential to keep safe and only play at licensed and secure casinos. Dodgy offshore casinos may use pirated games or refuse to pay out progressives in one fell swoop. Some may offer reduced RTP rates in their slots, or worse still; they may be rigged.
You can stay safe by playing at recognisable online casinos with licenses from respectable jurisdictions. Casinos which are regulated, audited, transparent and certified for fair play game will often carry popular slots from the top providers. As mentioned, playing the most popular slot games is a great way to start out.
Putting It All Into Practice: Finding Your Ideal Slot
You should now be able to put all you have learned about the best slot games into practice. If you’re still unsure, here is our checklist of things to look for. Top-rated slot machines will likely have the following features:
– Wagers and Lines: Top slots offer a flexible wagering range and many paylines.
– Prizes and Progressives: The best online jackpot slots will not require maximum bets and offer several different cash prizes so everybody can win, no matter their budget.
– Theme: Pick a slot with a theme which appeals to you. You are more likely to find yourself enjoying playing it.
– Volatility/RTP: Remember, highly volatile games are best suited for players who have a sizeable budget. Low variance games are ideal for players with less to spend.
– Special Features: The best slots offer an excellent array of special features. Randomly triggered ones are a perk, as you don’t need symbols to appear to land them.
– Software Provider: As cliché as it sounds; the best slots do tend to come from the biggest and most renowned providers.
Any Questions? A Quick FAQ Guide
When playing at an online casino, the best slots are those which are fair, fun, and payout decent sums of cash; there isn't just one of them.
No, this is a myth. Slot players sometimes ask, “when is the best time to play online slots?” or “what is the best time of the month to play online slots?”. There isn’t one. Slots are designed to be random, so they can pay out prizes at any time.
If you’re thinking “what is the best casino for slots?” there is only one answer. The best online slots sites are those which offer plenty of fair games from a host of leading providers.
The best free online slots can be found at casino software providers’ websites, casino reviews sites, or online casinos themselves.
With high limit slots, the best casino for these online slot machines tends to be high-roller domains. Such games could be found anywhere online really, though.
The best online casino games and slots are those which you, the players decide to fit the bill. Popular slots are, after all, whatever everybody happens to be playing. In most cases, they match the criteria listed above.
The best online slots promotions will be eligible for use on all slots at a site. However, not all sites offer the best online slots offers, meaning that some may be limited to just a handful of slots.
Yes. Some games have betting strategies that can be selected from the paytable. These allow you to alter the volatility or variance of a slot. Others allow side-bets to be played which can adjust the RTP of a game.
Spin Those Reels and Strike It Rich – It’s Time to Play Online!
Now that you know almost everything there is to know about online slots, it is time to spin those reels and strike it rich. If you are still asking “how do you know what online slots are best to play?” then try checking out our online slot reviews. These in-depth slots and game reviews will tell you all you need to know about the best titles out there on the net.
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