Expanding Reels Feature Explained + Best RTP Slots

In distinction from classic 3-reel slots, innovative features (special symbols, re-spins, etc.) are the defining characteristic of modern web-based slot games. After software developers had experimented in every possible way to create all the bonuses and functions exciting on the reels, it was time to change the reels themselves. That’s how expanding reel slots, one of the most well-liked and ground-breaking game options in the slot game industry, appeared.

Best online slots with Expanding Reels Feature

Jellyfish Flow Ultra Online Slot Logo

Jellyfish Flow…

Expand. Reels: Yes
Sails of Fortune Online Slot Logo

Sails of Fortu…

Expand. Reels: Yes
Galactic Girls Online Slot Logo

Galactic Girls

Expand. Reels: Yes
Chocolates Online Slot Logo


Expand. Reels: Yes
Emerald's Infinity Reels Online Slot Logo

Emerald's Infi…

Expand. Reels: Yes
Wheel of  Wonders Online Slot Logo

Wheel of Wond…

Expand. Reels: Yes
Empty the Bank Online Slot Logo

Empty the Bank

Expand. Reels: Yes
Lucky Lightning Online Slot Logo

Lucky Lightning

Expand. Reels: Yes
Legion Hot 1 Online Slot Logo

Legion Hot 1

Expand. Reels: Yes
Prism of Gems Online Slot Logo

Prism of Gems

Expand. Reels: Yes
Katmandu Gold Online Slot Logo

Katmandu Gold

Expand. Reels: Yes
Hotel Yeti-Way Online Slot Logo

Hotel Yeti-Way

Expand. Reels: Yes
Hippo Pop Online Slot Logo

Hippo Pop

Expand. Reels: Yes
Tomb of Akhenaten Online Slot Logo

Tomb of Akhena…

Expand. Reels: Yes
El Paso Gunfight xNudge Online Slot Logo

El Paso Gunfig…

Expand. Reels: Yes
Fire in the Hole xBomb Online Slot Logo

Fire in the Ho…

Expand. Reels: Yes
Rage of the Seas Online Slot Logo

Rage of the Se…

Expand. Reels: Yes
Infectious 5 xWays Online Slot Logo

Infectious 5 x…

Expand. Reels: Yes
Celestial Gems Online Slot Logo

Celestial Gems

Expand. Reels: Yes
Monster Meltdown Online Slot Logo

Monster Meltdo…

Expand. Reels: Yes
Wrath of Gods Online Slot Logo

Wrath of Gods

Expand. Reels: Yes
Wynloch Keep Online Slot Logo

Wynloch Keep

Expand. Reels: Yes
Gargoyle Infinity Reels Online Slot Logo

Gargoyle Infin…

Expand. Reels: Yes
Undying Romance Online Slot Logo

Undying Romance

Expand. Reels: Yes

The Expanding Reels Feature: What is It?

As the name suggests, this video slot option expands the amount of reels in a slot and provides a dynamic medium to ensure more potential in every single spin. This envelope-pushing feature offers a gambler more opportunities for winning combos either on an increased set of active lines or a bigger number of ways to win.

The Expanding Reel concept is frequently used in Egyptian-themed video slots, where the additional reels are usually disguised as blocks or pillars on the side of the original 5x3 set. Yet, an increasing number of vendors incorporate the flexibility of this gameplay option, expanding it into slots of various themes.

How Does the Expanding Reels Feature Work?

You’ll probably make note of something different about expanding reel slots right away. As soon as you run the game, you will notice that there are ensconced reels on the side of the regular reel set. It all depends on the design – in some cases, such reels can be faded, and sometimes they are a part of the background or the reel grid framework. For instance, in Egyptian-themed slots, the feature may be depicted as stones that the pyramid is made of. In a fairy-tale-based game, you’ll frequently see them on the side designed in the form of trees or magical plants.

The reels aren’t active all the time, and they don’t impact the regular payout system of the game. Under normal circumstances, the slot can be played on a classic 5×3 reel set and has 2 extra reels on the flank that need to be activated during the game later. This implies that, at a certain point, you will be in a position to unlock those reels and start playing a 7-reel, in place of a 5-reel slot. It is up to a software developer in which way the feature can be triggered (see below for more details). Yet, once it’s unlocked, it can change the structure of payouts, add more paylines, and sometimes, even activate special symbols that propose bigger prizes or multipliers.

How Does the Expanding Reels Feature get Triggered?

The expanding reels feature can be triggered in three ways:

  • Collecting a certain number of wilds/scatters to trigger the Bonus Round. A huge plus is that expanding reels boost other special features in bonus rounds to maximize a player’s profit. For instance, they ensure more free spins and multipliers. Yet, the Bonus Round happens only every once in a while. So, you’ll probably need to spend a long time playing the slots before activating the expanding reels feature.

  • Landing of winning combinations. As a rule, it happens in the base game. Thus, wins come more often with expanding reels. The feature is believed to result in better chances of entering the Bonus Round. But a negative point is that symbols’ value can be decreased to compensate for the high payout rate.

  • Paying extra to unlock a reel. On one hand, it provides full autonomy: gamblers can choose independently when to unlock extra reels. It may seem time-sufficient. But on the other hand, activating the expanding reels feature with an additional fee can be quite expensive.

What's Special about Expanding Reels Slots

One of the main advantages of expanding reels in video slots is that they help you gain different types of rewards (nine times out of ten, in the form of free spins and multipliers). Sometimes, these ensconced reels also have special symbols that provide gamblers with better and bigger prizes. The more space you get with the expanding reels, the more chances of gaining winning combos you have. In some games, you may even get winning combinations in almost every spin.

In the next place, the expanding reels feature makes online slots more exciting to play. As more reels are on the screen, the monotony of spinning the same active lines decreases by a long chalk. There is always suspense involved in unlocking the ensconced reels and receiving surprise rewards out of them.

Apart from that, players can get special characters, such as scatters, extra wild symbols, and so on. This implies you can get large cash prizes.

Also, note that the expanding reels feature is available in modern slots with higher volatility mainly (medium-high and high variance). High volatility games are characterized by a high level of risk. This means that they rarely give out winning combinations, but their amount is quite substantial. And medium-high variance slots are characterized by a rather medium risk and are suitable for those who do not have a large bankroll and, at the same time, prefer not to sit without winnings, albeit small ones. So, be ready you may have to spend a long time spinning expanding reels.