For many players, particularly newcomers who are playing for the first time, video slots may appear on the surface to be much of a muchness. Naturally, players are aware of the visual differences, such as the slots’ themes and in-game features.
However, the volatility of the slot slides under the radar somewhat for players who are not actively looking for this information. That’s where this beginner’s guide to slots volatility is on hand to help. Knowledge related to how volatile a slot is important for various reasons (all of which are explained below), and it should be factored in when choosing which games to play.
This page will put you on the right track so you can find the best slot for your desires. For instance, you may want to play simply to clear wagering requirements so that you can make a redemption. Alternatively, your purpose for playing might be to try and win a large jackpot. There’s a good chance you’d pick different titles for each objective, which is where our slots volatility list can help.
|🎰Slot Machine||📈Volatility Rating||💰Jackpot||🤠Theme||⭐Featured at|
|Taco Fury XXXtreme||🌶️Low||533x||Zombies||Pulsz.com|
|Jack Hammer||🌶️Low||3,000x||Comic Book||McLuck.com|
|Butterfly Staxx 2||🌶️Low||240x||Nature||McLuck.com|
|Wilds of Fortune||🌶️Low||500x||Classic (slots)||WOWVegas.com|
|Fortune Skulls||🌶️Low||1,100x||Treasure Hunters||Funrize.com|
|Diamond Shot Blitz||🌶️Low||1,300x||Jewels||Funrize.com|
|Cash Kingdom||🌶️Low||1,110x||Historical Kings||Funrize.com|
|Dia de Los Muertos||🌶️Low||5,000x||Day of the Dead (Mexican holiday)||Fortunecoins.com|
|Pyramids of Giza||🌶️🌶️Medium||5,000x||Ancient Egypt||Fortunecoins.com|
|Reel Rider Rapid Link||🌶️🌶️Medium||1,250x||Motorcycles/Hells Angels||Funrize.com|
|Fear the Dark||🌶️🌶️Medium||5,000x||Ghosts||Stake.us|
|Lion Gems: Hold & Win||🌶️🌶️Medium||3,000x||Safari / Savannah||McLuck.com|
|African King: Hold ‘N’ Link||🌶️🌶️Medium||1,363x||Safari||Funrize.com|
|Black Bull||🌶️🌶️🌶️High||4,500x||Nature (US)||WOWVegas.com|
|Curse of the Werewolf Megaways||🌶️🌶️🌶️High||40,976x||Werewolves||Pulsz.com|
|Wanted Dead or a Wild||🌶️🌶️🌶️High||12,500x||Wild West||Stake.us|
|Aztec Fire||🌶️🌶️🌶️High||10,000x||Ancient Aztecs||McLuck.com|
|Book of Helios||🌶️🌶️🌶️High||20,168X||Fantasy||WOWVegas.com|
|Gates of Olympus||🌶️🌶️🌶️High||5,000x||Greek Mythology||Stake.us|
|Squid Slot||🌶️🌶️🌶️High||4,588x||Squid Game||Funrize.com|
Volatility in Slots
In a nutshell, the volatility of a slot relates to how the game is programmed to payout. Let’s take the popular card game blackjack as an example. The volatility of Blackjack is extremely low, meaning that players can normally expect to win nearly every other hand.
Of course, you have runs of losing (or winning) more consecutive hands than that, but generally speaking, this is a good benchmark. Added to that, the payouts remain consistent, further adding to the low volatility.
Slot games are different from blackjack. With a high volatility slot, a player might spin the reels 20 times and see very little action. However, on the next spin, they hit a big win that may recover most (or all) of the previous losses.
Also referred to as variance by some software providers, volatility is usually talked about in three main levels: low, medium, and high. However, there are degrees of overlap, such as:
- Low volatility
- Low-medium volatility
- Medium volatility
- Medium-high volatility
- High volatility
- Extremely high volatility
Yet, before going any further, players need to also consider that a slot’s volatility rating is based on thousands of spins. This means the game may not perform as you’d expect if you only play 50 or 100 rounds in a session. That said, it’s still an excellent barometer regarding potential payouts and their frequency.
Online Casinos with Slots of All Volatility Levels
Social and sweepstakes casinos have slots covering all volatility levels because, like the theme and in-game features, the slot’s variance plays a role in the overall customer experience.
Some sites, such as Funrize social casino, provide informative thumbnails, allowing players to browse through the lobby and review the slot volatility of each Funrize slot game. In other cases, players need to load the game and then search through the info section to find the volatility.
As a timesaver, we’ve played at the best US sweepstakes casinos and handpicked a selection of slot games, ranging from low variance to high, making it quick and easy for you to pick the right ones.
Types of Slot Volatilities
Another way to think about volatility is as a parallel to the risk level. This isn’t an exact science but low variance slots tend to pose less risk to you burning through your coin balance in double-quick time rather than playing high volatility slots.
The trade-off is that players forsake some of the excitement of more explosive wins when a high variance slot is running hot. Let’s examine the three major levels in more detail and evaluate their pros and cons.
Low Volatility Slots
Low volatility slots are the ones that payout a steady flurry of small wins. The advantage of this is that a player’s coin balance can cover a longer session of play, as it’s being regularly topped up with these little wins.
While not always the case, low volatility slots may also have smaller jackpots in comparison to higher variance alternatives. Still, if you want to eke out your daily login bonus to provide the maximum amount of game time, these slots are the way to go.
Medium Volatility Slots
Slots that are rated as medium volatility will not payout as many small wins as low-variance games. However, the upside is that when the slot starts to run hot, the wins are usually more sizable.
Ideally, you want to have a slightly larger coin balance when playing medium volatility slots. Alternatively, you can consider lowering your bet amount. Overall, the RTP (return to player) percentage is in the same area as other slot games, so it balances out the longer you play.
High Volatility Slots
Most players prefer high volatility slots because they are associated with the biggest payouts and top jackpots.
Opposite to low volatility games, high variance slots are known to run cold for longer periods. When playing, I’ve experienced slots where you can go 20 to 25 spins and hit nothing.
Yet, when the tide turns, and the slot is ready to pay, the wins are known to be more dynamic and explosive. Partly, it’s this rush of excitement that draws in many players.
Additionally, you may jump on a high volatility slot that is primed to drop a big win on your first spin – that fact is you just never know when it’ll happen, and that’s what makes them so entertaining.
Reasons to Consider Volatility in Slots
On the surface, you may not think too much about the volatility of a particular game, but it is something that every player should give some thought to. From our extensive experience, these are some of the reasons to consider it.
- Wagering requirements for sweepstakes coins: All sweepstakes coins are free, but they do come with wagering requirements. For instance, at Pulsz.com, the wagering is usually 1x, whereas, at Stake.us, the wagering for Stake Cash is 3x.
If you’re looking to turn over your sweepstakes coins – hopefully, with minimal losses – so you can make a redemption, it is typically best to hunt out low volatility slot games. The reason is that the small but frequent wins should help to keep your coin balance topped up.
- VIP rewards: Most sweepstake casino VIP programs calculate the levels based on how much you wager. Therefore, this is another reason to consider the volatility level. Players who don’t have an excessive amount of coins should play low variance slots because they’re likely to get more play through on their balance
If you’ve got an abundance of coins, the volatility is not such an important factor. In such cases, players usually opt for high risk games as the payouts are better.
- Jackpot hunting: Players wanting to chase the biggest jackpots in the casino make a beeline to highly volatile slots. However, you need to have the bankroll to take on these games. There is little point in playing high volatility slots with only a handful of coins, as you may get wiped out before landing a win.
- Game time: If you’re playing purely for fun and entertainment, we’d recommend low to medium volatility slots. Also, part of this relates to having a solid bankroll management strategy so your coins last for the duration that you want to play.
Low Volatility Slots List
Although high variance slot machines grab most of the headlines, you can still find some cult classics with low volatility, such as Starburst, Jack Hammer, and Butterfly Staxx 2.
|🎰Slot machine||🧑💻Developer||💯RTP||💰Max Win|
|Taco Fury XXXtreme||NetEnt||96.05%||533x|
|Booming Bananas||Booming Games||96.55%||2,500x|
|Butterfly Staxx 2||NetEnt||96.35%||240x|
|Wilds of Fortune||Betsoft||96.33%||500x|
|Diamond Shot Blitz||NetGame||96%||1,300x|
|Dia de Los Muertos||---||---||5,000x|
Best Low Volatility Online Slots Reviewed
Choosing the best slot games is always a subjective issue, as different players like different themes and features. With that said, these are some of the most highly-rated low volatility slots based on player experiences.
NetEnt’s Starburst is one of the most-played online slots of all time. The game has an intergalactic theme and crisp gem-related symbols that keep it looking modern despite now being a decade old.
It’s a 5 by 3 slot with only ten paylines. However, it is one of the few video slots that pays both left-to-right and right-to-left. This keeps players engaged on every spin because you don’t know until the last reel stops if you’ve landed a winning combination.
Starburst is short of bonus features. It doesn’t offer a free spins round. Instead, the big wins are generated from Starburst wilds and Starburst respins. When a Starburst wild lands on one of the middle three reels, it expands to become a full reel wild, and you get a free respin. It’s possible to get up to three respins, which helps to bump up the payouts to a maximum of 500x your bet amount.
Taco Fury XXXtreme
Joining Starburst and Milkshake, Taco Fury is another NetEnt slot to offer the XXXtreme spins feature.
Taco Fury XXXtreme is an all-action video slot with five reels, three rows, and a modest nine paylines. The combination of zombies and tacos is a new theme, which adds an extra layer of fun to this title, along with the 533x max win.
Much like Starburst, Taco Fury XXXtreme doesn’t have a separate free spins feature. Ultimately, the game is all about wild symbols, which include Taco Wilds, Explosion Wilds with multipliers up to 5x, Random Wilds, Wild Reels, and Wild Rows. There is a free respins feature that pushes up the payouts when active.
If you want to jump straight in some wild action, you can activate one of the two XXXtreme spins modes on any spin.
- 20x your bet guarantees one Wild Explosion
- 60x your bet guarantees two Wild Explosions
Overall, the RTP is 96.05%, meaning it pays 96 coins for every 100 wagered on average. Of course, this is based on millions of spins, so don’t expect such a precise return when you play a short session.
Wilds of Fortune
If you like video slots with a classic vibe, Betsoft’s Wilds of Fortune ticks all the right boxes. The 5×3 game board is housed within an old-school one-arm bandit machine, and there are other slot machines in the background, making it feel like you are in the casino.
Cherries, BAR, watermelons, grapes, and diamonds, which act as wild symbols, fill the reels on each spin. Wilds of Fortune shares several of the same features as Starburst, such as having 10 paylines and the win both ways mechanic. Additionally, if a wild lands on reels 2, 3, or 4, it converts to a full reel wild with free respins, just like Starburst.
There are also random scatters. However, these don’t trigger free spins, only fixed payouts of up to 50x your bet.
Another popular low volatility slot is Jack Hammer. This NetEnt creation was released back in 2010 and has since spawned a sequel, which is a testament to its success.
Based on a 1930s-style comic strip, Agent Jack Hammer is battling against the evil Dr. Wüten. The slot has five reels and 25 paylines, which keeps the frequent wins trickling in. There are a couple of notable features.
Firstly, Jack Hammer has a Sticky Win. This kicks in after any winning combination. The winning symbols hold in place, and you get a free respin. If the winning combination is improved or another win lands, the process is repeated until no additional wins are added.
Also, this slot has a stellar free spins bonus round. Players get 10 to 30 free spins (depending on how many scatters land in the base game), with all wins tripled. That means it’s possible to win 3,000x your bet on any spin during this feature. Combine this with an above-average 96.96% RTP, and you’ve got a top video slot that’s always enjoyable to play.
Booming Bananas is a jungle-themed 3×3 video slot by Booming Games. Despite the comparatively small reel set, Booming Bananas delivers a fun and exciting slot gaming experience.
The game has non-fixed paylines, so players can choose how many active lines they want to play (between 1 and 10). Furthermore, there are wild symbols that substitute all other symbols, except for scatters, to form winning combinations. Also, in the base game, you have a special 7x multiplier symbol that acts like a wild, but the wins it forms are multiplied by 7.
When you land three scatters, you activate the Booming Bananas free spins feature, which starts with 10 spins. These can be triggered if more scatters appear during the round. Other quirky features include 2-way pay and a 50/50 gamble option, from which you can win 10,000 coins.
The RTP is a respectable 96.55% and the max payout is estimated to be 2,500x. It’s a good slot for stretching out your coin balance due to the non-fixed paylines, so you can get hours of fun without too much damage to your bankroll.
Medium Volatility Slots List
In keeping with what we’ve mentioned above, several of the medium variance slots offer much larger win multipliers compared with games that have low volatility. However, a few of the RTPs are dipping into the 95% range, which isn’t beneficial to your long-term bankroll.
|🎰Slot machine||🧑💻Developer||💯RTP||💰Max Win|
|Pyramids of Giza||Barcrest||Variable||5,000x|
|Pug Life||Hacksaw Gaming||96.33%||7,500x|
|Reel Rider Rapid Link||NetGame||96.11%||1,250x|
|Fear the Dark||Hacksaw Gaming||96.25%||5,000x|
|Lion Gems: Hold & Win||Playson||95.55%||3,000x|
|African King: Hold ‘N’ Link||NetGame||95.95%||1,363x|
|Dork Unit||Pragmatic Play||96.28%||10,000x|
Best Medium Volatility Online Slots Reviewed
Below, you can learn more about five of the best medium volatility slots we’ve listed.
Hacksaw Gaming has a growing portfolio of top-rated slots; however, Dork Unit remains one of my favorites. It has somewhat of a jumbled theme, with elements of cartoons and goofy kids combined with fruits and vegetables, among other symbols.
Dork Unit is a 5-reel video slot with a slender 16 paylines and a max payout of 10,000x your bet amount. What helps this game stand out is that it serves up a decent amount of action in the base game as well as offering a free spins bonus round.
The base game is dominated by Gift Box symbols, which are essentially wild multipliers that can be as high as 200x. Furthermore, landing three Gift Boxes on the same spin, triggers the Gift Bonanza respins feature.
Finally, there are Dork Spins, which can feature full reel wilds of one or more of the dork characters from the game. Long Lenny is the most high-value dork, with a possible win multiplier of 200x.
Stay Frosty is a Christmas-themed slot by Betsoft. The game has 100 paylines and a solid RTP of 96.21%. Even with the festive theme, this one game you’ll enjoy whatever the time of year.
Frosty the Snowman is one of the central characters. He is the wild symbol, which replaces all other symbols (barring the scatter) to form winning paylines. However, after a win, Frosty changes to a Stay Wild symbol, which remains in place for the next two spins.
Also, you have Merry Reindeer Free Spins. This feature is triggered when 3, 4, or 5 rainbow scatters appear on the reels. You can get up to 20 free spins, and all wilds that land remain sticky until the end of the bonus round. All of this leads to a possible payout of 922x your bet.
Fear the Dark
Another Hacksaw Gaming creation makes our list of medium variance slots. It is one of Hacksaw’s Pocketz Series, which are a collection of slots specifically designed for mobiles.
Despite the scary title, Fear the Dark is more about friendly ghosts and ghouls, if there are such things. It is a 6×6 cluster pays slot that uses the cascading symbols mechanic to provide the opportunity for consecutive wins from a single spin.
Fear the Dark is packed with features and bonus rounds. The Full Moon feature is triggered when the man in the moon scatter appears. This activates up to five symbol multipliers at the top of the slot, which are added to all wins.
Additionally, there are Darkness Spins and Alone in the Dark free spins, with the latter bonus feature unlocking the potential for a 5,000x max win. The RTP is a sturdy 96.25%, giving players plenty of value along with a few bumps in the night.
With a fantasy-theme filled with beautiful mythical princesses, Elven Princesses is one of Evoplay’s most captivating slots to date.
The game has 30 paylines, and despite only boasting an RTP of 95.41%, there are numerous features that are sure to keep you on the edge of your seat as you play. One of them is random wilds that can appear on any spin. There are three types of random wild, they are:
- Mage Wilds – Any of the reels 2,3,4, or 5 can turn wild.
- Warrior Wilds – 2 or 3 wild symbols are awarded diagonally.
- Archer Wilds – 2 or 3 wilds are added to random places on the reels.
Three scatters will trigger the Elven Princesses free spins bonus round. The number of free games (ranging from 5 to 9) depends on which princess is chosen. Furthermore, each princess has their own special power, such as sticky wilds and multipliers.
If you’re a fan of Dork Unit, you’ll also like Pug Life, which is another title from Hacksaw Gaming’s portfolio. Although the themes of Pug Life slot and Dork Unit are different, the cartoon-style artwork gives off a very similar vibe.
The game itself is a 5×4 slot with 16 paylines and an RTP of 96.33%. Like many Hacksaw slots, there’s plenty of action in the base game and bonus rounds. There are three Treats symbols – biscuit, bone, and steak.
Each Treat is a revealing multiplier that can be as high as 200x. If three Treats symbols appear on the reels in the same spin, it activates the Treat Yo’self bonus game, which is worth five free spins.
The other bonus game is Dawg’s Den. Here, the number of free spins depends on the number that’s revealed on the scatters. All wins in this feature are stacked up until the end of the round, which can have added multipliers or cash values then included in the total win.
High Volatility Slots List
There’s no shortage of top-quality high volatility slots, as you can see from our list below.
|🎰Slot machine||🧑💻Developer||💯RTP||💰Max Win|
|Black Bull||Pragmatic Play||96.51%||4,500x|
|Curse of the Werewolf Megaways||Pragmatic Play||96.50%||40,976x|
|Sweet Bonanza||Pragmatic Play||96.51%||21,175x|
|Wanted Dead or a Wild||Hacksaw Gaming||96.38%||12,500x|
|Aztec Fire||3 Oaks||95.50%||10,000x|
|Book of Helios||Betsoft||95.58%||20,168X|
|Stack ‘Em||Hacksaw Gaming||96.20%||10,000x|
|Gates of Olympus||Pragmatic Play||96.50%||5,000x|
Best High Volatility Online Slots Reviewed
Picking the best high volatility slots is not easy because there are many contenders. Players will find an abundance of Megaways games combined with other much-adored classics. Of course, the advantage of playing at listed sweepstakes casinos is that you can use free gold coins to try a range of high volatility slot titles to narrow down your favorites.
Curse of the Werewolf Megaways
Arguably, this was one of the best high volatility Megaways slots released in 2022. Based on the title, you may expect a dark, blood-soaked game, but Pragmatic Play has opted for a more lighthearted werewolf theme.
Curse of the Werewolf Megaways has six reels with each reel holding up to six symbols. This creates up to 46,656 ways to win on any spin. Although the Megaways game engine delivers optimum excitement in the base game, the focus of this slot is on its many bonus features.
These include mystery symbols, spin modifiers, werewolf strikes, and a free spins bonus round that can be retriggered an unlimited number of times. The max win is 40,967x, and a solid RTP of 96.50% further helps to establish this as a great high volatility slot.
One of the most-played high volatility slot machines is Sweet Bonanza. This candy-themed classic has spawned several sequels, including the fun live dealer game Sweet Bonanza Candyland.
The game is played on a 6 by 5 grid; however, there are no paylines. Instead, wins are created when 8 or more of the same symbols appear on the reels. These symbols then disappear, and the ones above drop down as new symbols are added to refill the board. This cascading effect means that you get multiple wins from the same spin.
While the base game is engaging, the pinnacle is the Sweet Bonanza free spins feature. This is activated when 3, 4, or 5 scatters land on the reels. You get a cash payout (for the scatters) plus 10 spins. Added to this feature are candy bombs with multipliers up to 100x. Overall, the max win is more than 21,100x your bet, and the RTP of 96.49% is a little above the industry average.
Wanted Dead or a Wild
If you like to play high volatility slots, Wanted Dead or a Wild has to be on your list. This Wild West-themed slot by Hacksaw Gaming is loaded with action and suspense on every spin.
Built around the generous 12,500x max win, Wanted Dead or a Wild has a rich selection of features, including:
- VS symbols with multipliers ranging from 2x up to 100x
- Great Train Robbery free spins with sticky wilds
- Duel at Dawn free spins with extra VS symbols
- Dead Man’s Hand which is a free spin wild and multiplier collect feature
The RTP is 96.38%, which is in line with the other high volatility slots on our list. Of course, you want to make sure you manage your bankroll while waiting for the big-paying features to activate.
Book of Helios
Next up on our list of popular high volatility slots is Betsoft’s Book of Helios. The stellar graphics and soundtrack fit perfectly with the fantasy Greek mythology theme and the slot’s central character Olivia Brave, who is on a mission to infiltrate the famed temple of Helios.
Book of Helios only has 10 paylines, which is fewer than many other high volatility slots; however, players still have a chance of winning up to 20,168x their bet amount, which is why this title is sought after.
It’s fair to say that Book of Helios isn’t packed with bonus features, but its free spins round offers full-reel wilds with multipliers that help combine to create some lavish payouts.
Gates of Olympus
No list of the best high volatility slots is complete without mentioning Pragmatic Play’s Gates of Olympus. This super volatile creation has 6 reels, and it uses the tumble feature, thus creating multiple wins from a single spin.
The Greek god Zeus stands beside the reels to randomly fling winged orbs onto the reels carrying win multipliers up to 500x. However, the action doesn’t stop there as Gates of Olympus has a rewarding free spins bonus round that starts with 15 games, which can be retriggered an unlimited number of times.
All of this creates a slot with a 5,000x your bet max win, and the 96.50% RTP is sure to keep players interested. Having played this game on several occasions, I can confirm it is one of the most high variance slots around. That said, if you are sensible with your bet amounts, it does offer some rewarding sessions of play.
Volatility Versus RTP
It’s important not to get confused with volatility and RTP, as they are two separate things. There are many high volatility slots with below average RTPs, and likewise, you can find low variance slot games with high RTPs.
Ultimately, the volatility determines the frequency and to a large degree the size of the wins. However, this is all designed within the parameters of the RTP. The simplest way to look at it is to take a slot that has an RTP of 96%.
- Low volatility: You win 96 spins of $1 each when playing 100 games.
- Medium volatility: You win 12 spins of $8 each from your 100 games.
- High volatility: You win 2 spins of $48 each from 100 games.
This is purely a hypothetical example to highlight the differences between variances in a simplified way. Of course, the real payouts vary in many ways and amounts.
Other Aspects to Consider When Playing Slots
For certain, the best high volatility slots serve up an electrifying gaming experience, but variance isn’t the only thing to weigh up. When searching for the right slot, this is the checklist we use:
- RTP: We mentioned RTP a couple of times, and for a good reason. It is one of the most important factors in determining the long-term value of a game. That said, some progressive jackpot slots have RTPs under 90%, which is extremely low. However, you have a chance of winning a far greater payout.
- Jackpot/Max Win: All slot players want to hit the jackpot, and the bigger it is, the better. We factor in the jackpot along with the RTP and volatility to find the right slots. You shouldn’t use this criteria independently (unless it’s a massive progressive).
- Theme and Features: Let’s not sugar coat this; some slots are bland and boring, whereas others come with cutting-edge graphics, exceptional soundtracks, and a profusion of in-game features. Naturally, it is a matter of taste as to what floats your boat, but it’s something to consider when choosing different games.
- Betting limits: Most slots offer an expansive range of betting options, so you can play with only a few coins or hundreds at a time. Still, when approaching a game, you need to think about your bankroll and the betting limits to ensure you get the best experience.
Choose Slot Games with the Right Variance for your Gameplay!
To emphasize once more, it’s crucial to choose the right variance for your style of play and the balance you have available.
As an example, you have 50 sweepstakes coins. If you take on a high volatility slot; you may only hit a couple of wins when betting 1 sweepstake coin a spin. Moreover, there is no guarantee that these wins will recoup your starting balance. The end result is that you may clear out your balance in less than 15 minutes.
So, what other options are there? You could stay on high volatility slots, but only bet 0.10 or 0.20 a spin. This would give you many more games and greater chance of hitting a feature and a big win.
Alternatively, you can play medium or low variance slots. With these more likely to pay regular wins, your coins should roll over, so you can enjoy playing for longer. There is still a chance of winning some tasty jackpots on these games, although they may not be as large as on most high volatility slots we’ve listed.