Best online slots and where to play them
We cover everything to do with slots, and where to find the best ones down below. Brought to you by our experts’ combined years of experience and research.
We’ve listed these casinos based on their slots offering, starting with the one we think is the best slots casino. Of course, when we’re rating casinos, we rate for a ton of different factors, not only slots and games — that’s why this doesn’t just look like a copy-paste of our top casinos list.
Overall rating is still important; we’d never recommend a bad casino with some good slots, but slot offering takes chief priority for this list. You can learn more about which one’s best for you over on our page for best slot sites.
The best 10 online slots
How we rate the best slots and their casinos
When you’re looking at a slot machine’s rating, it’s worth looking at a casino’s rating too. The most popular online slots will be on dozens of websites, so there’s more to picking than just finding one you like. Fortunately, we rate slots and casinos, and give you the rundown on how we do both.
First thing we look at is the type of slot, whether it’s a video slot, old-schooler, progressive jackpot etc. Then we consider what features it’s got available, and how many of them. The payouts come next; we look at the return-to-player stats, a slot’s volatility, and the min/max payouts. Freshness is another factor — we don’t give or take points based on whether a slot is new, but we have certain expectations of recently released slots.
Areas that can affect both slot and casinos:
- Bonuses: Some casinos give better bonuses than others, and some slots have better bonus compatibility.
- Software: A slot built by a reputable software provider will get a better showing. Casinos that host a boatload of top providers deserve a shout too.
- Mobile access: Some slots don’t work well on mobile, or at all. And if you’ve downloaded a few casino apps in your time, you know there’s leaps and bounds between the best and worst.
We'd consider things like what casino payment methods are available, the casino’s safety rating, the quality of their actual website, and the strength of their customer support offering. Our online casino reviews will help you dive into the good stuff.
Slots take in money, spin, and should spit some money back out. But that’s just about the only thing they’ve all got in common. Slots can be totally different from each other. The number of reels can change, the number of paylines can change, and tons of different features can be offered. These all have a say on what type of slot a given game is classified as.
No one type is necessarily better than another, but they can be more suited to different kinds of players, so knowing your playstyle can help you decide what are the best online slots for you.
Cleopatra (IGT) - Floats an uncomplicated free spins round with 15 spins and a 3x multiplier.
Guns n’ Roses (NetEnt) - Features a bonus game with coin wins, stacked wilds respins, and a 3-level pick-to-win game.
Gonzo’s Quest (NetEnt) - Avalanche reels can chain wins together, and add a multiplier of up to 5x when they do.
88 Fortunes (Scientific Games / SHFL) - Free spins on scatters and a bonus round with 4 different jackpots.
When it comes to slots, features are little twists that’ll help you score wins. Each slot works differently of course, but in general, the more features you have, the better. Scatters and wild symbols are the most common things you’ll find, but here's a quick look at some of the most popular options:
Scatters: In casino slots, the winning symbols have to line up in a payline pattern in order to pay out. Not so with scatters. No matter where they fall on the screen, scatters pay out, as long as the minimum required number appears (usually 2 or 3).
Wilds: Function like wilds or jokers in certain card games. They substitute for the symbol you need to score your payout. There are sub-species of wilds too, like stacked wilds, which can wild out most or all of a reel, or sticky wilds, which can remain on the reels for a while, increasing your chances of landing wilds wins. Wilds wins are especially good, because they tend to be the highest-value symbols on the reels.
Free spins: There are many ways to trigger free spins, but they mostly work the same way. A spin you can win money on, but that you don’t have to pay for. Some slots have free spins that can retrigger themselves, racking up higher-value wins on free respins rounds. Free spins in free spins. It’s....Spinception.
Bonus rounds: Online slots also have bonus rounds. There are many ways to trigger these, usually by landing bonus symbols. This type of online slots bonus can take many forms, including free spins, often themed, or picking mystery prizes to see what bonuses you’ve won.
Multipliers: If a x2 multiplier symbol forms part of your winning payline, your win is doubled. If it’s a x3, it’s tripled. So on and so forth. Online slots players love these, for obvious reasons.
Gamble: Usually manifests as a double-or-nothing, where you can take a wager to stake your bonus round winnings on a single bet.
Cascading reels: You can think of these like a ‘mini-respin’, the nice part being that they usually trigger every single time you land a winning combination. When you win, the winning symbols pop out of existence and are replaced by new ones, potentially landing further wins.
Payouts and Volatility
Sure, the point of playing is to have fun, but winning is always the best part of the game. The likelihood of winning is an important thing to consider when choosing the best online slots. We usually look at RTP% and slot volatility.
RTP (return-to-player) is a descriptor for the percentage of wagered money that a player can theoretically expect to get back when wagering over a very long time. For example, if a slot has an RTP score of 95%, then a player making 100 bets of $1 on it could hypothetically expect to have $95 remaining at the end of their run.
Of course, theoretical RTP is only an estimate calculated across a massive sample size, but you’d be hard pressed to find a player who deliberately looks to play low-RTP games.
Volatility refers to a slot’s risk level with its wins and win rates. Low volatility slots are preferred by players who want to win smaller amounts more frequently, while high volatility slots hold a higher risk of losing money, but with the potential for much bigger payouts. If you’re playing a slot machine online, one isn’t necessarily better than the other, but there’s definitely something more suited to your style of play.
Bonuses: free spins and no deposit
Bonuses have a huge say on choosing the slot you play, as well as where you play it. Many casinos have special online casino bonuses on specific slots — the Starburst slot and Book of Dead both became household names because loads of casinos give free spins bonuses on them.
Whenever free spins are attached to a sign up bonus, it means you can play on a slot for free but win real money in exchange.
There are two different ways slot sign up bonuses can work:
- The bonus offer states that the free spins can only be played on a specific slot
- If not specified in the bonus offer, you can use the free spins on any slot listed in the casino's T&Cs
Some operators will even offer an online slots no deposit bonus, which gives you the chance to win real money without risking your own cash. While ‘no deposit free spins’ are a thing, this is usually a small amount of bonus cash you can use as slot credit. In general though, most casino welcome bonuses can be used on slots.
When it comes to cash-type no deposits bonuses, slots usually contribute 100% towards the wagering requirements. These requirements are as low as 1x at the best online slots sites.
Online casino software is important to consider when picking both your slot game and your casino. If a slot is made by a top, reputable provider, you’re in good hands.
If you’re looking for a casino, what you should know is this: operators pay to ‘rent’ providers’ games, and host them on their site. If you’re seeing a lot of providers, and specifically, a lot of top providers in a casino’s slots library, you know they’re investing hard in pleasing their playerbase. To give a rough benchmark, over 20 total with 8-10 top providers is a top-notch offering for US online slot casinos.
Some of the most popular slot providers are:
NetEnt - Insanely solid all-rounders, they’ve put out over 200 online slots covering a variety of themes. Top NetEnt slots include Starburst, the Dead or Alive series, and jackpots such as Divine Fortune and Hall of Gods.
IGT - They have land-based slots, original online slots, and provide the massively popular MegaJackpots series, which waves some huge numbers around at slots casinos around the country.
BTG - Incredibly known for their Megaways series, which takes some of the best online slots and adds the Megaways mechanic, which changes the number of symbols on the reels with each spin, creating over 117,000 ways to win in most BTG slots.
WMS - Especially known for turning some top land-based games into online slot machines, you’ll find names such as Zeus and Black Knight in WMS’s libraries.
For a slots casino to have a good mobile offering, we expect it to have the vast majority of its games available on mobile (95%<). Apps should also be easy to navigate and be completely glitch and crash-free, if a place wants to be considered among the best mobile casinos.
For games themselves, the best online slots on mobile should at the very least be compatible with all devices. Good graphics and responsiveness are important too. It’s really great to see when slots are particularly well-optimized for mobile play, for example, by changing the button sizes on the interface to be more accessible on smaller screens. Overly small buttons on touchscreens can be a recipe for disaster when real money is at stake.
NetEnt, for example, have revamped a significant number of their games into the NetEnt Touch series, which is specifically designed to make the games more mobile-friendly.
When a slot is mobile-exclusive, even better. That means it was made from the ground-up with mobile play in mind, so you can (usually!) expect better compatibility.
In the world of online slot games, top new stuff is all about being bigger, bolder and more innovative. It’s worth keeping an eye on new online slots, since you never know what’s going to come next. It’s another area where no one development is necessarily better than another, but there’s lots of room to find something that’s great for you.
New mechanics are always a thing to watch out for, while they may not all be as game-changing as tumbling reels or Megaways, there are plenty of twists to season your online slots with. New bonus features or higher potential max wins are worth watching out for too. On the purely aesthetic side, graphics and animations are getting better all the time at top slots provided by top studios.
Picking a slots casino, what you’d definitely want to keep an eye on is the size of their new games section, and the frequency with which that’s updated. If they’re bringing in the new stuff constantly, there’s a higher chance that you’ll be able to play the next big thing here.
Other tips for picking a slots casino
You can head over to our online casino reviews page to get a detailed look at how we rate the casinos where you play your slots. But a few top tips for things you can watch out for when doing your own research:
Payment methods — Most operators will offer 6-14 options, and our top slots casinos will offer 15+. Those should include a variety of top options like Visa & MasterCard, Skrill and VIP Preferred. PayPal slots casinos are a particular favorite.
Safety — Good responsible gaming initiatives are a must. Make sure an operator offers a suite of responsible gambling tools, and that any payment terms and other T&C’s are transparent and easily accessible. Other good signs include being an award winner, and partnering with a land-based casino.
Customer support — Always worth asking some questions before signing up, to analyze the quality of support you will get if a problem comes up. Easily accessible live chat is a good start, but we also like to see email and phone support, and a set of detailed FAQ & help pages. If live and/or phone chat are available 24/7, it’s a good sign.
Usability — Signup and bonus claim should be easy and take no more than a few minutes. The website or app should be well-designed too, having easy navigation through different game sections, and preferably, a complex search and filter system to quickly sort through your favorite online slot games.
Online slots guide - how they work
Free slots vs real money slots
Free online slots are greatly sought after, and for good reason. They’re demo versions of the real money editions, and are available for most top slot games and at most casinos - online slots in NJ are the vastest in terms of quantity and quality. They can be a lot of fun, and they give you the opportunity to learn the game before you try slots for real money. The main benefit of free slots is that you won’t lose any real money on them.
However you won’t gain much either, unless you manage to find an online slots no deposit bonus you can use. We have pages dedicated to both free and real money slots where you can discover more, but here’s a quick scan of the main pros and cons.
Real money slots
You can win real money
Learn how the games work
Peace of mind
How to play online slots: Top tips
While hitting 'spin' on a slot is easy enough for anyone, there are some useful tips and tricks for beginner players. Regardless of whether you play from a New Jersey online casino or any other licensed state.
Take a look at our list for more.
Learn the rules
Even if you’ve already chosen your slot, a bit of research goes a long way. Learn the paytable and rules, and familiarize yourself with the bonus rounds. Some bonus games can have a small skill element to them, and it’s best to know what’s up before you’re picking the best way to sweep coins into your pocket. You can find a general guide on our how to play slots page.
Understand the payouts
Everyone’s got a playstyle, which means everyone’s got a paystyle. Do you prefer to win small, but often? Then a low volatility, high RTP% slot is what you’re looking for. Do you prefer bigger risks for bigger rewards? Look at high volatility slots and progressive jackpot games. More in our payouts section.
Choose your casino wisely
Picking somewhere safe and legal should always be at the top of your list, but even when everything’s above board, some casinos are better than others. Our rankings list notes down the casinos we think offer the best online slots experience.
Features can help
Apart from scatters and wilds, and their variations, one of the most common bonus features is the free spin — and we doubt we’ll ever hear a player complaining about getting one. But there’s tons of features out there, and some of them are where players can make the biggest gains, especially in bonus games. Learning what’s available and how it works is never going to be a bad idea. Check out our favorite features.
Play for fun first
Play free online slots before hopping over to the real money section. If you can find the same slot titles for free and as a real money version, that’s the best practice you’re ever likely to get when it comes to learning rules and mechanics. See our list of pros and cons for free & real money slots.
Pick the right slot type
It’s hard to pick a single type when it comes to choosing the best slots to play. The biggest difference is what kind of player each type appeals to. For example, if you like excitement and innovation, you’d probably enjoy new slots. If you’re a fan of the classic feel and don’t want to get mixed up with bonus rounds, classic slots may be your niche. High rollers can chase progressive jackpots, etc. See our online slot types overview for more.
Should I play free slots, or real money slots?+
Honestly, we think you should play both, and cover this in our pros and cons list. Free slots will teach you how to play and understand slot mechanics, and prepare you to move to the real money side of online slot machines. Once you’re feeling confident in your knowledge, you can head to the real money side of internet slots. That’s where the wins are.
Where should I play online slots?+
You’ll be fine playing at just about any legal, audited casino — the top rated slot games are the same at most places. However, some casinos are stronger in specific areas. For slots specifically, we’ve put together a rankings list you can check out, but you can also check out our casino reviews. We only recommend legal and licensed spots.
How do I play online slots?+
The short answer: research, find a slot that suits your playstyle, find a reputable casino with a good online slots bonus, learn the gameplay mechanics, and get playing. We have a how to play tips list that will get you started, and you can read more about what would suit your style of play in our slot types section.
Which online slots have the best payouts?+
There are different ways to evaluate payouts. You can look at the highest possible win, in which case you’ll want to look at progressive jackpots. You could also look at hit frequency, the likelihood of each individual spin giving out some bit of money. Most people look at RTP%, the theoretical average return a player will receive over a long time. This page contains a list of some of the highest RTP, legally available online slots in the USA.
What online slots pay real money?+
If you’re playing at a legal casino, all of them. Slots must be audited and tested for fairness in order for the casino to get its licence. Most states where online casinos are legal contain a directory of approved casinos on government websites. If you’re looking to get started, some of the best slots online are made by top software providers such as NetEnt, IGT, H5G and BTG.