Five reel vs. three reel online slots-Key similarities and differences

As technology has advanced, online casinos have been able to offer more complex and engaging slot machines. Two of the most common types of online slots are three reel slots and five reel slots. While both offer the classic slot machine experience, there are some key differences between the two that players should understand before playing.

Themes and symbols

One similarity between three and five-reel เว็บสล็อตแท้ is that they both tend to use common classic slot themes like fruits, gems, numbers, and bars. You’ll find cherries, lemons, oranges, diamonds, Lucky 7s, and more on the reels of most games regardless of the number of reels. However, five reel slots can offer more complex and immersive themes. With more reels, there are more possibilities for storytelling and unique gameplay elements related to a theme. For example, a five-reel slot may have a full storyline and cut scenes between spins related to its theme. Additionally, five reel slots utilize more symbols than three reel slots. While three-reel games max out at around 5 symbols, five-reel games incorporate higher-paying symbols related to their theme. So in a five-reel game, you may see 10 or more unique symbols, compared to just the basics in many three-reel slots.


A major difference between three and five reel slots is the number of paylines. Paylines are the possible winning combinations across the reels. In a three-reel game, the maximum is just five paylines across three rows. But in a five-reel slot, you have 25, 50, 100, or more ways to win. Five reel games often forgo fixed paylines in favor of ways-to-win setups. This means there are many more possible winning combinations. With more reels and paylines, five reel slots can pay out more frequently, but the payouts may be smaller as they are spread out over more combinations.

Bonus Features

Modern video slots employ bonus features like free spins, multipliers, interactive bonus games, and more. Three reel slots tend to have simpler bonuses or lack them entirely, while complex bonuses are a defining characteristic of five reel slots. For example, a three-reel slot may just have a wild symbol those substitutes for others plus a free spin bonus. But a five-reel game could have sticky wilds that stay in place, stacked symbols, a wheel bonus game, and dozens of free spins. It allows for bigger wins overall. However, some players prefer the lower volatility of simple three-reel games over action-packed five-reel slots.


Volatility or variance refers to how often and how big the payouts on a slot are. Low volatility slots have smaller but more frequent wins, while high volatility slots have sparse but massive payouts. Three reel slots tend to be on the lower volatility side, while five reel games range from low to high variance. For example, a three-reel fruit machine may pay out little wins of 5-50 coins every few spins. But a five-reel slot with movie clips and bonuses may go long droughts without paying, only to surprise with a huge 1000x win.

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