Ever wondered what’s so fascinating about 5-reel slots that neither players nor game developers can get enough of playing and creating more of them? On this page, our casino expert team has gone the extra mile in sharing everything you need to know about these modern video slots, how to play, win and where to find them. Derived from classic fruit slots, they host a mix of sophisticated bonus features and a wide array of thrilling themes, but that’s not all these video slots offer. So let’s dig in and see if we can answer all your burning questions about slots with 5 reels.
On this page, you will find:
- What is a 5 Reel Slot?
- Payouts in 5 Reel Slots
- Why Play 5 Reel Slots?
- How to Play 5 Reel Slots?
- Best 5 Reel Slots
- Top 5 Reel Slot Developers
- 5 Reel Slot Tips
- Where to Play 5 Reel Slots
Effectively, the modern 5-reels slots are an upgraded imitation of 3-reel slots except that they are enhanced with extra features to make them more fun to play and rewarding to win on.
These additions often range from free spins rounds, avalanche reels, quests, win multipliers and multi-level bonus rounds, making 5-reel slots highly dynamic. Also, alongside regular paying symbols, they contain special symbols that come into play in both the base game and the bonus game, often on a different set of reels.
Luckily, you don’t always have to match 5 identical symbols to win a payout in a 5 reel slot. In most cases, you only need to match 3 or more consecutive symbols on an active payline. But, the more matching symbols you land on a single spin, the bigger wins you collect with the biggest payout reserved for 5 symbols of a kind.
The above works on slots with fixed or flexible paylines, but there are also multi-line slots with a 243 ways to win setup. The famous NetEnt slot, Vikings is a good example. Here, a win materialises when matching symbols appear anywhere on adjacent reels from leftmost to right. But the ‘x ways to win per spin’ don’t just stop here; they can go up to a whopping 117,649 ways to win and usually involve a larger number of reels or a unique layout.
The biggest difference between 3-reel and 5-reel slots is that the latter, aside from having more reels, also come with immersive bonus features and various slot themes. These can be based on popular films, TV shows, sports, inspired by adventurous travellers or horror stories resulting in more thrilling gameplay. Not to mention the visual effect – 5-reel slots often exhibit stunning backdrops and imaginative symbols.
A sheer abundance of bonus features can sometimes make 5-reel slots seem intimidating, especially if you haven’t played modern video slots before. The wild symbols act one way in the base game, and then they become sticky during the bonus game, then there are avalanche reels and 243 ways to win mechanics. More so, these features trigger quickly, and it can be challenging to understand what has just happened on the reels.
So next time, before you play a 5-reel feature-packed slot, look up the paytable to understand the gameplay better. Each game has one, and you can usually find it displayed within the ‘i’ icon. As soon as you hit the info icon, the slot’s paytable will spill the beans about each symbol and their coin value, what special features are involved in the game and how you can trigger them.
Below are some basics that will help you understand several bonus features commonly found in the most popular 5-reel slots:
|Special Wilds||If 3-reel slots come with wilds, many 5-reel slots feature special wilds including shifting or walking wilds, sticky wilds, multiplier wilds, giant wilds, extra wilds and more. These work in a similar way to regular wilds where they substitute for other paying symbols but usually appear during the bonus round and have additional qualities. Walking wilds, for example, can walk across the reels with each spin, one space at a time, while sticky wilds stay locked in place while other symbols spin.|
|Avalanching Reels||First invented by NetEnt, the avalanche reels have many different names. Depending on the developer, they can be called rolling reels, cascading reels or tumbling reels, but they all perform the same action – remove winning symbols from the reels so that new symbols can fill the gaps. When new symbols fall from the top of the reels into the empty spaces, you have another chance at forming new winning combinations.|
|Sticky Symbols||Sticky symbols can be regular symbols or wilds that give you another chance to build a new winning payline. When these are triggered, they stay locked in their place for one or more spins, depending on the game.|
|243 Ways-to-Win/Megaways||With 243 ways to win or Megaways mechanics, you bet on a spin rather than a payline. Essentially, playing a 243 ways to win slots means that all possible paylines are activated and you win whenever a winning combination forms from left to right.|
|Bonus Games||There are different types of bonus games available in 5-reel slots. These games can appear in the form of mini games, free spins or a bonus wheel and take place on a different set of reels when triggered.|
Now that we’ve covered the bare essentials, it’s time to delve into some of the best 5-reel online slots that demonstrate a bold exterior and feature-packed interior:
|5 REEL SLOT||RTP|
|1429 Uncharted Seas||98.6%|
|Barber Shop Uncut||97%|
|Jack Hammer 2||97.1%|
|Jungle Jim El Dorado||96%|
|Dead or Alive||96.8%|
You never know what deep-sea creatures may cross your path when you join an old ship crew in the 1429 Uncharted Seas slot from Thunderkick. But join you must if you’re after a uniquely stunning slot with an exceedingly high RTP and bonus round with up to 50 free spins on display. Luckily the lurking sea serpent acts as an expanding wild, a bonus feature that will allow you to create more winning combinations and bring the treasure back to the shore.
If you ever wanted to meet the blood-sucking Count Dracula in person, he’s your wild symbol in the gothic Blood Suckers slot. So step inside, if you dare, the gory dungeons are crammed with ghoulish bonus features. The terrified bride will lead you to the freaky free spins round where only brave ones can activate 10 free spins with a 3x multiplier—feeling the vampire-slaying vibe? Then stay for the Click Me Coffins Stabbing action and drive a stake right through a sleeping vampire’s heart.
In need of some relaxation and a professional trim? Visit the classic Barbershop of Monsieur Stache featuring foaming wilds, locking wins with respins and free spins with multipliers. Seemingly cheery and easy-going, the Barber Shop Uncut slot is a tough nut to crack when it comes to free spins feature. And that’s because you need not just 3, but a whole 5 bonus symbols to prompt this bonus round. But if you’re lucky, you could rack up a max of 30 free spins to try and land yourself a payout of well over 2000x your stake.
Steam Tower is NetEnt’s unusual sci-fi take on a classic fairytale. There’s a princess who desperately needs to be rescued from an evil fire-spitting dragon, and yet the overall theme is steampunk. Set in the Victorian era combined with retro-futuristic visuals, your bravery quest begins at the 16-floor tower. Each time you climb a new level during the free spins game, you increase the multiplier up to 7x and get a bonus coin win as a reward for reaching the top tier.
In Esqueletto Explosivo, you are cordially invited to join Enrico Mortis and his mariachi band, The Boners, to celebrate The Day of The Dead. It’s up to you to respond or not, but if you decline, you’ll miss out on dropping symbols, explosivo wilds and cascading reels with some epic mucho multipliers of up to 32x! Starring a bunch of colourful sugar skulls along with fun Mexican tunes, the slot is a real crowd-pleaser. Due to low volatility, it might not bring you the biggest of wins, but it will definitely deliver some fun and stunning gameplay.
Many loved the original Jack Hammer, and fortunately, NetEnt has decided to retain some of the major features in the follow-up slot, Jack Hammer 2: Fishy Business. You still have the secret agent theme, wilds and the free spins round with multipliers for doubling your wins. But the real deal in this slot, as in its predecessor, is the most lucrative bonus feature, the Sticky Win. Trigger this feature, and you’ll experience the reels with sticky symbols locked in place while others respin for a real chance of bigger wins.
Among many adventure-themed slots, Jungle Jim El Dorado is one of Microgaming’s masterpieces. Built on the rolling reels mechanic, you’ll have winning symbols disappear, and new ones fill the void as they drop to help you build another winning combination. But mostly, you’ll want to initiate the free spins round because, with each consecutive roll, the multiplier increases too during this feature, up to 15x. In nature, it does feel similar to NetEnt’s Gonzo’s Quest, but can still hold its ground as a popular game.
Explore the Wild West theme with one of the most iconic slots in NetEnt’s game collection, Dead or Alive. It comes with sticky wilds and an epic free spins feature, where 3 gun scatters trigger the bonus round with all wins doubled in the process. Even more so, land one or more of the sticky wilds during the free spins game and you’ll win yourself some extra free spins for extended gameplay.
Immortal Romance is probably one of the most recognisable slots in the iGaming industry that Microgaming breathed life into back in 2017. As in anything vampire, it features danger, darkness and bloodlust, but it also goes deep beneath the surface with a backstory for each character fleshed out by the developer. The cast represents 4 free spins games, each with their own features. Unlock the free game, and you’ll get to play with up to 25 free spins, random multipliers and avalanche reels for a chance to win up to 12,000x your bet.
Featuring wilds, scatters, free fall symbols and free spins, Gonzo’s Quest doesn’t have all that many bonus features for a 5-reel slot. But it has a beautiful Aztec theme and tumbling reels with avalanche multipliers increasing as you play the free spins game. Being a medium volatility slot, this adventurous game pays out medium-sized wins. Plus they come often enough for you to accumulate a good play balance and keep spinning for a chance to win the 15x free fall multiplier.
This is a tough question, and every player has their own favourite game provider that, in their mind, makes the best 5-reel slots. But if you are looking for tried and tested titles, look out for NetEnt, Microgaming or Play’n GO games to begin with.
Yggdrasil, a relatively new arrival to the iGaming scene, has proven time and time again that they know their slots and their players. Their gaming content is high quality, innovative and entertaining. As are games from the guys at Elk Studios, supplying the gaming industry with mobile-first slots.
There are as many tips and tricks on how to win on a slot machine as there are players. But keep in mind that slots are a game of luck and what works for one lucky punter may not necessarily work for you. But if you want to play better and enjoy playing while trying to win, follow John’s tips below and you’ll have a blast each time you spin:
Plan your play
Always set your budget first and never chase losses. Don’t underestimate the importance of determining how much cash you can afford to invest in a slot machine. Knowing your limits will help you choose the best slots for you and have better and more enjoyable gameplay.
Check the RTP
Unless you’re after slots with progressive jackpots, look out for slots that have an RTP equal or above the industry’s average, which is 95%. Most jackpot slots will naturally have a lower RTP, which can often be below the norm, but the best 5-reel slots will have it fixed above 95%.
Play slots with bonus rounds
In many modern 5-reel slots the biggest payouts draw from bonus rounds such as free spins or any other bonus games. Therefore, playing slots where you can trigger free spins, can significantly increase your chances at winning, if not the max reward then at least a substantial amount of cash.
Play for free first
Not only is it fun to play for free, but it’s also beneficial in the long run. You can either play for fun in demo mode or look for top UK online casinos where you can claim some free spins no deposit bonuses. With free spins bonuses, you’ll be giving yourself a chance to investigate the slot you are about to play with real money and learn all about it before you even spend a penny.
Play with the max bet
To win max you have to bet max, therefore, if you’re after bigger wins, play with the max bet per spin or stake on all paylines possible. This way you’ll never miss out on forming wins on active paylines and maybe even winning the top prize. Gambling can be addictive, please play responsibly.
At JohnSlots, we make it our mission to find the best casinos in the UK where you can play the latest slots for free and for real money. For fans of 5 reel slots, it’s best to sign up to a casino that offers free spins as part of their welcome bonus. Here are our top picks for casinos where you can join and claim some free spins to play top 5 reel slots for free:
To summarise all that we’ve just covered, 5-reels slots have a broad appeal because of their multiple bonus features, immersive gameplay and a wide choice of themes available for every kind of player. Rightfully, these slots are plentiful and with new exciting titles coming out each month it gets tricky even for us to keep track of such a massive volume of games accessible online. With that in mind, we keep our list of new slot releases neatly organised and regularly updated, so that you can have a go-to tool for finding them in a jiffy. Not a fan of new things? You can browse our entire library of slot reviews right here!