3 reel vs 5 reel slots. Slots games are a favorite among casino players. Currently, software providers strive to create fun, fascinating, entertaining and different slots. Sometimes the hard part is choosing just one. Players typically choose a game based on the theme, jackpot, provider, latest news, bet level, or other features of the game itself. However, if there is something that makes the difference between the different slots, it is the number of reels. Today we focus on discerning the differences between 3 reel vs 5 reel slots.

3 reel vs 5 reel slots

What characteristics distinguish the 3 reel vs 5 reel slots?

  • Past and present
  • paylines
  • Player return and volatility
  • Graphics

Past and present

We go back to 1985 when Charles Fey created the first slot machine. This Englishman devised one of the most exciting games in the casino. A brilliant idea that retains its essence, although it has evolved exponentially in recent decades. Traditionally slot machines had three reels. We refer mainly to the recreational machines installed in bars and restaurants. In fact, they still are. On the other hand, online slots mostly have 5 reels. The development of technology has allowed the innovation of the sector and its professionalization. Although it can also be said that there are slot machines with 4 or 6 rollers, however, it is not the most common.


If there is one aspect that makes the difference between 3-reel slots vs 5-reel slots, it is the paylines. In general, the number of reels determines the number of paylines. As a rule and to understand it better, it can be said that the reels of three have only 1 payline. Although they may also have some more, but it is not the most common. What about the pay lines on 5 reel slots? As a general rule, they have a much higher number of payment lines and with this, a greater possibility of obtaining prizes. The maximum number of pay lines is 243.

RTP and volatility

Broadly speaking, it can be said that 3-reel slots have higher volatility and a lower player return. And conversely, slots with 5 reels have less volatility and a higher return to player.

RTP: 90-93% RTP: 94-98%
high volatility Low volatility
It’s harder to get a prize It’s easier to get a prize
The prizes are higher The prizes are lower

Graphics: visual aspect

Perhaps it is not the most important aspect, but it matters and it is the graphics. Regardless of whether it is a 3-reel or 5-reel slot, the visual spectacle is guaranteed. Today, software providers strive to create powerful titles that grab the attention of gamers. Although it must be said that 3-reel slots tend to have a more conservative aesthetic. They usually have a more classic theme, fruit games, diamonds,…

On the other hand, in 5-reel slots, the visual aspect is paramount. Currently the providers try to attract the public due to the quality of the graphics, animations, enveloping and captivating music,… The product is better finished, although as with everything there are exceptions. 3 reel vs 5 reel slots, which one do you prefer? 3 reel vs 5 reel slots at SCT.