Which type of online slot game should you play?

Which type of online slot game should you play?
Pavlos Sideris
by Pavlos Sideris Last updated:

Discover which type of online slot game suits your style of gameplay with our in-depth breakdown

The fast-paced, ever-evolving world of iGaming can be incredibly difficult to keep up with at times. Blink and you’ll completely miss an innovative new mechanic or brand new slot series that’s made its way to casinos across the internet. 

So if you’re a relative newcomer to online casinos and online slots, then it can be incredibly difficult to decide which type of slot game is best for you… Because let’s be honest in 2020 there are a multitude of choices, no longer are we limited to playing 5-reel, 20 payline games.

Here at Slot Gods we’re wholly committed to informing players on absolutely everything they could ever need to know about online slots, which ones are worth playing and most importantly where to play them and get value for your money! 

In this article, we’ve gone into detail about all the different types of online slots you’re going to come across when browsing your favourite online casino. Hopefully, it gives you a much better idea of what your choices are and which one you might enjoy the most.

3-reel slots

A relic of the past, 3-reel slots are based on the original coin-operated physical slot machine that was created by American inventor Charles Fey way back in 1894. Despite their rich history these iconic slots just aren’t that prevalent in today’s digital age.

There are a handful of online slot developers out there that have stayed true to their roots by releasing titles that only have a maximum of 3 reels… But they truly are few and far between. You’re much more likely to find a 3-reel slot game in a physical casino than you are online.

Traditionally 3-reel slots have a 3 x 3 setup that requires players to match 2 or 3 symbols across a maximum of 10 vertical, horizontal and diagonal paylines, with the most lucrative payline being the one that runs directly through the centre of the reels.

Some 3-reel slots come with exciting bonus rounds and free spin mechanics, however, most are nice and simple and it’s just a matter of spinning the reels and hoping for a winning combination!  

Play these slots if - You want an easy online slot experience that requires little to no understanding of game mechanics.

Play these slots if - You want to play simple slots, as they were when they were first created back in 1894.

5-reel slots / 6-reel slots

As slots became more popular developers realised that with advanced programming tools at their disposal they could make the games significantly more intricate, increasing the number of reels in play, essentially unlocking even more paylines making games more lucrative. 

Odds are you’re most likely to come across 5-reel slots when you’re browsing your favourite online casino, as it’s these that are considered ‘industry standard’ and have been since the boom of the internet and online casinos in the mid to late 1990s.

Traditional 5-reel slots usually employ a 5 x 3 setup with somewhere between 10 and 25 paylines on offer, developers are also generous in filling these games with bonus features and mechanics such as wilds, multipliers, free spin rounds and other exciting features. 

Thanks to advances in technology online slots have become more intricate over the last decade and additional reels have made their way into games, at the turn of the new decade in 2020 it’s fair to suggest that 6-reel games are becoming just as prominent as 5-reel ones.

Play these slots if - You want to experience the classic online slot experience, without any overly-confusing gimmicky mechanics.

Megaways slots

Megaways slots are absolutely revolutionary for offering players an incredible 117,649 ways to win (or more), as opposed to the standard 25 or so paylines most players are used to.

An innovation called Random Reel Modifier technology automatically changes the number of rows on each reel after each and every spin, meaning the number of paylines fluctuates.

You could have one spin with just 20 paylines and then in the very next spin you could see a huge number of symbols on the reels and over 100,000 paylines active. It’s an exciting mechanic that can really get your adrenaline pumping as you await that big spin.

When you throw bonus features and mechanics into the mix these titles step up a level in terms of drama and excitement! Admittedly, Megaways slots can seem a bit intimidating at first, but once you get into the swing of things you’ll never look back.

Play these slots if - Traditional 5/6-reel slots bore you, and you'd prefer unrivalled excitement with each and every spin.

Grid slots (aka Cluster Pays)

Grid slots are completely different to your average online slot. These completely disregard reels altogether in favour of something akin to classic games such as bejewelled (or Candy Crush for those of a certain age). 

Rather than watching a set of reels spin upon clicking play, players instead watch a grid full of symbols fall onto the screen. Wins are registered when matching symbols are grouped together to form a cluster. The bigger the cluster, the bigger the win. Usually, these titles include chain reactions as well - meaning one win could well lead to another win, and another, and another and another! 

It’s a complete departure from what most players are used to when it comes to online slots, and as a result, there are mixed feelings towards this unique game mechanic. Personally, we love the unpredictability of grid slots and can’t recommend them highly enough! 

Play these slots if - You like your online slots to not actually feel like an online slot at all! 

Jackpot slots

Jackpot slots almost need no introduction, anyone that knows anything about online slots knows that jackpot slots are a huge part of the online casino ecosystem. These games are usually your standard 5-reel slots that have the same hallmarks including bonus features and mechanics, however the opportunity to potentially win a significant amount of money is also there.

There are several different types of jackpot slot, with the most popular one being ‘progressive jackpots’, these see the prize pot increase as more and more players spin the reels and take their shot at winning. Often progressive slot prizes reach into the tens of millions.

Players can also play ‘daily jackpots’ that must payout at least once per day to one lucky player, these could pay out first when the prize is fairly low, or at the end of the day when it’s reached a high point. Another alternative are the ‘must drop jackpots’. These must be won before the prize reaches a certain amount of money such as £2,000, and several people can win them per day.

Play these slots if - You’re willing to be more patient in pursuit of winning spins, but enjoy the excitement of being in with the chance of winning millions of pounds.

Live Slots

Live slots are a fairly new concept that are only just beginning to grab the attention of online slot enthusiasts around the world. Live slots are completely different to other live casino games you might come across online. The ‘dealer’ in these games are there purely for the social element, as opposed to those in roulette and blackjack games who control the game itself.

Players can talk to the person behind the screen (as well as other players) using a Live Chat feature, bringing a whole new social aspect to online slots. The only time a dealer might possibly impact the game is to start a bonus round by pressing a button.

There are only a very small number of live slots available to play right now, but considering the live casino niche is currently experiencing a huge boom in popularity, we expect to see more on the way in the not so distant future. 

Play these slots if - You enjoy watching streamers, or would like an additional social element alongside your gameplay.

Pavlos Sideris
by Pavlos Sideris Last updated:

Pavlos has loved playing slots since he was tall enough to stand at a fruit machine. With over 10 years’ experience in the industry he’s been around long enough to remember when flash games and downloadable casinos were as good as it gets!