Best online slots

Online slots are by far the most popular form of game in online casinos today, and any site that you play with will have more slots than all other games combined in virtually all cases. Because there are literally thousands of titles in this genre as a whole, we have devised a rating system to help players to find the best slot machines to play. While this isn’t necessarily a one size fits all type of rating system, it will definitely help you to find the online slot machines that will perform the best for you and give you the best overall experience based on your own personal preferences.

Top 50 real money online slots

A brief overview of the online slots scene

Before you can think about what criteria are important for rating slot machines and figuring out what you like, you need to have some idea of what’s out there. Generally speaking, slots appeal to players who don’t have the time or interest in games that require a lot of studying of strategic principles and in-depth analysis or mathematical work. Instead, they just want a game that they can sit down and enjoy while being entertained with moderately good chances of winning. Online slots fit the bill very well since all you have to do is choose your bet size and press the spin button to see if you’re a winner.

With that having been said, there are still multiple subgenres of slots. Classic slots are a good example, and these are typically three-reel games that are based on the original mechanical slots that existed in pubs, bars and land-based casinos back in the day. Most games these days are video slots, which typically have five or more reels of action with a lot more visual real estate available than their classic cousins. You can find video slots based on original concepts as well as those based on popular brands like those you’d find in television shows, films, and other forms of media.

Safety and fairness of online slots

The bottom line with slots is that they are going to be as safe and fair as the casinos where you play and the software providers that you play with. Stick to sites and software providers that have a good reputation with a license from a reputable jurisdiction, and you’ll have no problem. The sites that we recommend and the individual slots we suggest players try have been vetted for fairness, and it’s not something that players will have any problems if they follow these suggestions.

How we rate and review slot games to find the best slots online

In the table above, we have ranked a number of the top slots available in the industry today. These represent the very best real money slots that you’ll be able to find, and while you can click through to see full reviews of the individual games themselves, we also have a breakdown below of how these slot reviews were actually devised and how these ratings have been developed. This will help you to understand not only what we believe is important in these slot games but why we believe it’s important and how you can use this information on your own to find games that will be the best fit for you as an individual.

While there may not be a “one size fits all” best online slot because different players have different gameplay preferences, there are still certain criteria that should be taken into account before trying to figure out which games will be best for you. In the following, we break down these criteria and why they are important. We’ll also mention how you can adjust the weight of these criteria based on your own preferences.

Visual appeal in the top online slots

top online slotsThe very first thing that any player will notice is the visual appeal of a game. There are several aspects that go into the overall visual appeal, but what it mostly breaks down to is whether a game pulls you in or not. Some online slot machines have very straightforward graphics that are rather plain, and others go as far as having extensive 3D graphics that give players a very immersive experience. Between these two extremes are several different shades of gray along with several different actual styles of graphics that are difficult to quantify because of their subjective nature.

Along these lines, we tend to look more at whether the slot is visually appealing or not instead of the specifics of how that goal is achieved. If the graphics look good, we’ll say they look good. If they look like they were thrown together, then we’ll let you know that as well. We’ll also point out if the graphics are 3D in nature or if they have a particular style of animation, which is important because some players simply do not like certain types of visual presentation, though others do.

Best payout slots: RTP percentages and volatility

best online slotsMoving away from the subjective to the objective, another important aspect of rating the best online slots comes down to the RTP and volatility levels of the games. RTP tells you the return to player percentage, which gives you an idea of the house advantage. The higher the RTP of a slot, the better as it will have a better payout over time. We incorporate that into our ratings because, with all else being equal, a high RTP slot is much better than a low one. 

A related metric is volatility. Some players prefer high-volatility online slots with a top-heavy pay table. On the other hand, others prefer low-volatility slots with balanced pay tables and fewer big swings. It’s not necessarily that one is better than the other, but we want to inform you about the volatility level of each game so that you can make your own decision about what you prefer.

Finding the best slot machines: bonus features

One of the things that sets games apart from each other in today’s industry is the type of bonus features that they have available. For a period of a few years, it seemed like that almost every video slot that came out had the same basic concept for a bonus feature: three or more scatter symbols awarding free spins with some kind of multiplier. Thankfully we are well past that period, and many different games offer a variety of ways to get extra value from bonus features. Along these lines, this is one of the most important things that will shape your overall gameplay experience, so it’s critical to pick wisely.

Some games have features that pack a lot of value but that don’t show up all that often. Free spins bonus features are usually like this, but other types of specials like instant win prizes and pick a box style features can be like this as well. Features that have this type of prize distribution tend to add to the volatility of a game, so you should take that into consideration for yourself.

Other slots have features that give you a small or medium amount of value, but they give it much more often. Wild multipliers, expanding wilds and other types of wild features are great examples of this. “Avalanche” style features, often called Rolling Reels in Microgaming-powered titles, also give you more value with chances to get what amounts to extra free re-spins, usually with multipliers, on the same spin. You can win several small to medium prizes on the same spin, which lowers the volatility overall.

For our own slot ratings, we tend to favor games that have innovative or value-packed features. If it’s clear that the developer just threw something together without much thought or without tying it into the theme or concept of the game, we don’t rate it as highly.

Why cohesion makes a slot machine great to play

Our final criteria for finding the best slots online that we really focus on a lot is cohesion. This is the idea that all of the different parts of the slot machine come together to provide players with one overall, cohesive experience. We see this often with slot games where the theme of the game radiates throughout the background graphics, the symbols on the reels, the payout structure, the features and even the music and controls. When you have this type of cohesion, it gives you a much better experience no matter what your personal preferences are, and that’s why it’s one of the most important things we focus on. Without this cohesion, however, the game can seem disjointed and rushed, almost as if there wasn’t much care in putting it together.

Putting it all together to find the best online slot games

What we want players using these ratings of the best real money slots to understand is that there are essentially two sets of criteria. The first set is what we can objectively evaluate that will apply to virtually all players. The second set, and what we try to point out when we can, is the set of things that different players will feel differently about, like volatility, themes, etc. While we want to inform you of these factors, we don’t necessarily use them in our own rankings because they’re largely subjective.