Volatility in Slots: Find High, Medium & Low Volatile Slot Machines

Welcome to our page dedicated to Volatility in Slots. This metric is very important when choosing a slot machine to play because it describes the slot’s “risk factor”. Knowing that, you can make a choice based on your personal preferences. Down below you can search through a large collection of slot games, filter them by volatility and choose the one that is the best for your playstyle. By default the list is filtered by High Volatility.

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What is slot machine volatility and why is it important?

Volatility (or variance) indicates the frequency of a slot game’s payouts, the amount the slot pays out and the game’s overall level of risk. This is important because it tells players what to expect from a slot game and helps them choose a game that suits their playstyle and available budget. 

Players with smaller budgets are usually more interested in low volatility (or low-risk) slots, because they can play for longer periods of time without investing a huge sum of money. Low volatility slots deliver frequent small wins and can be a lot of fun!

On the other hand, players who don’t mind spending more for a chance to win significant rewards usually veer towards high volatility (or high-risk) slots, where they can expect large payouts less often. 

The great thing about volatility is that it provides an option for everyone. Understanding the concept is a great first step and researching a slot’s volatility before playing is just as important. With this information in mind, you’re better equipped to choose a slot tailored to your playstyle and budget and avoid unpleasant surprises. You can learn more about the inner workings of slot machines (including volatility) by reading our in-depth guide on Slot Machine Secrets

Slot volatility falls under one of the following categories: high, medium-high, medium, low-medium and low. Let’s go over each category in detail and see what it has to offer:


High volatility slots

If you are a born risk-taker and believe that great rewards are worth the wait, then you will be more inclined to choose a high volatility slot. As mentioned before, slot games with high volatility are set to offer big payouts less frequently. Sometimes an entire gaming session might pass without a prize in sight.

However, this does not mean that high risk slots are no fun. They often include special features such as free spins and expanding symbols, as is the case with NetEnt’s Jungle Spirit. Some highly volatile slots may even include exciting mechanics such as Megaways, like in Raging Rhino or Bonanza Megaways. The most rewarding high variance slots may also offer jackpots with massive payouts. 

Special features might not guarantee you a win but they certainly boost your chances to cash out on some big prizes. To maximize the value of your payouts, it’s a good idea to pair high volatility with a high RTP.


Medium-high volatility slots

Halfway between high and medium volatility slots we find a popular hyphenated subcategory: medium-high. As you might expect, this level of volatility implies that the slot will offer slightly smaller payouts than highly volatile slots. On the upside, you can expect these payout to come more often than they would in a high volatility slot.

Medium-high volatility slots are great for those who don’t want to commit to a lot of risk-taking but still chase substantial payouts. A great slot to get your started on medium-high volatility slots is Finn’s Golden Tavern by NetEnt. 


Medium volatility slots

Slot machines with medium volatility offer the best of both worlds. Playing this type of slots, you can expect medium sized prizes (smaller than in a high risk slot and larger than in a low risk one) at medium frequency (similarly situated between high risk and low risk slots). Pair that with a couple of lucrative bonus features and you’re all set!

Asgardian Stones by NetEnt is a perfect example of medium variance slots that also provides a gold mine of special features: progressive multipliers, colossal symbols and a bonus wheel. IGT’s Cleopatra or Play n Go’s Gemix are also great contenders for the best medium volatility slots prize. 

For an easier bankroll management and peace of mind, we suggest you choose a medium risk slot with a high RTP so you can mitigate the unpredictability of its payouts. 


Low-medium volatility slots

Similarly to medium-high volatility, low-medium is a popular middleground for those who can’t decide between low and medium volatility or simply want the best of both worlds. With low-medium volatile slots you can expect lower-value payouts and an increased hit frequency compared to medium volatility. 

If you have an above-average budget at your disposal and you’re willing to risk it for some substantial prizes, then a low medium volatile slot might be your best bet. Quickspin’s Sevens High is a great choice for this category.


Low volatility slots

Finally, low volatility slots are the ideal choice for players with smaller budgets, who can enjoy a fun gaming session without needing to land any groundbreaking wins. Low-risk slot games deliver small payouts frequently, so you won’t have time to get bored. The great thing about low volatility slots, besides the low degree of risk involved, is that you can keep playing them for a long time with minimal investment. 

Low variance slots are also a great choice for new players, who might want to practice on some low-risk games before trying their luck with slots with higher volatility levels. If you’re a new player trying to get acquainted with the world of slots, our guide on Most Slot Machine Features & Useful Terms might be a great place to start. 

Slots such as Microgaming’s Wild Scarabs, which makes up for the small size of its prizes with creative features, are excellent choices for fans of low volatile slots.  Reels of Wealth by Betsoft and Guns n Roses by NetEnt are also great options to consider. 

To improve your chances, look for a slot machine with higher payouts. Yes, they exist! Also, be careful to minimize your bets as much as soon you can so you can get more bang for your buck in the long run.


How can you determine volatility?

Game suppliers will not always display a slot’s variance as baseline information. You usually have to use other methods to determine the volatility of a certain slot machine. Luckily there are several ways in which you can do this.

  • Play the slot machine 
    One of the simplest and most effective (though possibly time-consuming) ways to determine a slot’s volatility is by playing it. Opt for the free to play slots, so you don’t spend any more money than you have to. Start playing and keep track of your winnings, the size of the prizes and their frequency. By the end of the gaming session, you will have a good idea of the slot’s volatility.

  • Examine the slot’s paytable
    If you don’t want to spend your time playing the slot machine, the next best thing you can do is examine its paytable. To learn more about slot paytables, check out our guide All You Need to Know About the Slot Paytable in the Blog section. Once you’ve accessed the paytable, you need to look for the lowest paying symbol displayed there. The higher its value is, the lower the payout frequency is, the more chances you have to be dealing with a high variance slot, and vice versa. While you’re checking the paytable, it would be a good idea to look at the available prizes. If the slot offers massive cash prizes, you can safely assume it’s a medium or high risk slot.

  • Look for special bonuses
    As a rule of thumb, low-risk slots usually offer more bonuses with less payouts, whereas high risks slots offer fewer bonuses but with higher payouts. That being said, it’s also important to consider what a bonus actually offers, how easy or difficult it is to trigger it and therefore how likely it is to help you land a win.

  • Look at max bet sizes
    Another way to check a slot’s volatility is to look at the slot’s max bet size. Usually, high variance slots will limit the maximum bet size, to compensate for the possible big wins.

  • Check the slot’s RTP
    When trying to determine a slot’s RTP, it's a good idea to consider its RTP (check out our guide for more details on RTP in slots). High-risk slot machines usually come equipped with an average RTP, while medium and low volatility slots ideally come with higher RTP. This is not set in stone, but it’s a good metric to take into account when trying to determine the volatility of a slot machine.


Volatility vs Variance - Is there a difference? 

You may have noticed that we have been using volatility and variance interchangeably so far. That is because the two terms refer to more or less the same thing, with a slight difference that players should be aware of. 

Both volatility and variance describe the distribution of rewards for a particular slot machine. That means, as we’ve previously pointed out, the size of the payouts and the frequency at which they are delivered. 

Volatility essentially refers to the predictability (or lack thereof) of rewards during an individual gaming session, by predicting how much you can win and how often. Variance refers to the same metric but from a long-term perspective.


How do you choose the best volatility for you? 

Choosing the right slot to play should not take a lot of your time. If you know your budget and you playstyle (which includes your level of patience, expectations, etc) you can easily pick out the type of volatility you want in a slot machine. To make things even easier for you, we’ve put together a table outlining the main specs for each volatility level, so you can pick the ideal slot for you.

Volatility level Pick this volatility level if: 
Low volatility
  • You have a small budget
  • You like playing for fun
  • You like frequent payouts
  • You are a new player
  • You are not a patient person
  • You don't like taking risks
  • You want to play as much as possible with minimal investments
Low-medium volatility
  • You have an above-average budget
  • You are willing to take small risks
  • You enjoy bonus games
Medium-high volatility
  • You seek a balance of risk and reward
  • Your budget is generous but not unlimited
  • You have some experience playing slot games
Medium volatility 
  • You can't decide between low and high volatility
  • You like playing for fun but also winning
  • You enjoy taking some risks
  • You like triggering bonus features
  • You want to make the most of limited budget
High volatility
  • You enjoy the thrill of risk-taking
  • You don't mind waiting longer for massive rewards
  • You like to win more than anything
  • You don't have a limited budget
  • You don't mind pace yourself when it comes to betting
  • You are an experienced player

Even if you fit completely into one of these categories, there’s no harm in exploring other options. After all, that’s how we all learn how to play (and win at) slots, by simply hitting that Spin button! You can start by playing volatile games on demo mode here on SlotsMate and then, when you’re ready to take the next step, give Real Money Slots a go too!

Volatility FAQs

What is slot volatility?
Slot volatility is a metric that predicts the size and frequency of payouts in slot games. Knowing a slot’s volatility gives you a clear idea of how much you’re risking during a gaming session.

What is the difference between low and high volatility?

Low volatility slots deliver small rewards often, whereas high volatility slots offer larger rewards less frequently. 

Is volatility the same as variance? 

The two terms refer to the same metric and can be used interchangeably, however volatility describes the distribution of prizes during a single gaming session, while variance usually refers to the same distribution over a longer period of time. 
What is the recommended slot volatility for new players?
For new players, a low volatility slot is the safest choice. They can practice with such slots until they are confident enough in their abilities to move on to a superior volatility level where they are required to take more risks.
How can you measure a slot’s volatility?

You can measure a slot’s volatility by playing the game and tracking your winnings, checking the slot’s RTP and maximum bet limits,  as well as examining its paytable and available bonuses.