An Overview and Comparison of RV Auto-Leveling Systems

One of the many great features in modern recreational vehicles is an auto-leveling system. This high-tech addition can automatically level and stabilize your camper with the push of a button. But with different manufacturers offering various auto-leveling solutions, how do you know which one is right for your RV?

Today we’ll break down the main types of auto-leveling systems, look at the top brands, and compare the key factors to consider.

The Main Types of RV Auto-Leveling

There are two primary types of auto-leveling systems found in RVs today:

Hydraulic Leveling

Hydraulic systems use fluid-filled cylinders mounted to the RV frame. A hydraulic pump pressurizes the fluid to extend or retract the cylinders. This raises and lowers the RV into a level position.

Key Features:

  • Powerful leveling strength even on uneven terrain
  • Fast leveling speed
  • Ability to individually adjust each cylinder’s height

Potential Downsides:

  • Expensive upfront cost
  • Hydraulic fluid leaks are possible over time
  • Hydraulic pump may require repairs

Popular Brands: Lippert Level Up, HWH, Equalizer

Electric Motor Leveling

Electric motor auto-levelers use gearboxes with electric motors to turn jackscrews in and out. The jackscrews connect to leveling pads that lower and raise the RV.


  • Less expensive initial cost
  • No hydraulic fluids to leak or maintain
  • Motor-driven gears can handle decent terrain


  • Slower leveling than hydraulic
  • Not as powerful on uneven ground
  • Individual wheel height not adjustable

Top Brands: Atwood, Barker, Valterra

Now that we’ve covered the two main system types, let’s go over some popular brands and key features in more detail.

Top Auto Leveling Brands & Models

Lippert Level Up®

One of the leading hydraulic auto-leveling systems is Lippert’s Level Up. These are equipped on higher-end RVs from manufacturers like Grand Design, Jayco, Forest River, and more.

The Level Up uses a powerful hydraulic pump and cylinders that can individually adjust each jack’s height. This lets it stabilize RVs on uneven terrain. The system levels itself automatically in about 60 seconds with minimal effort.

Lippert hydraulic systems come with a dedicated control panel, either wall-mounted inside or part of the RV’s touch screen system. There’s also a handy mobile app to operate Level Up from your phone.

HWH Computer-Controlled Leveling

HWH makes premium hydraulic leveling systems used by major RV brands like Tiffin Motorhomes, Newmar, and Winnebago.

Their computer-controlled systems intelligently adjust the leveling jacks to accommodate uneven terrain. HWH uses a color-coded system with front, rear, left, and right jack controls. Large RVs especially benefit from HWH’s powerful hydraulic cylinders.

HWH systems can integrate with the RV’s multiplex control panels or phone apps. They also sell supplemental air compressor kits for additional jack strength when needed. Expect a high price tag but excellent performance from HWH auto-leveling.

Equalizer 4-Point Hydraulic Leveling

The Equalizer is a popular OEM hydraulic leveler option from Lippert. It uses 4 heavy-duty leveling jacks with a central hydraulic pump.

An advantage of the Equalizer is independent control of the left and right jacks. This allows precise side-to-side leveling. The user interface is simple, with arrows pointing to the front, back, left, or right jacks to extend.

One downside is the Equalizer may struggle on sloped ground compared to HWH or Level Up systems. But for basic hydraulic performance, Equalizer is a reliable mid-range option.

Atwood Power Level

Atwood is a trusted brand for electric motor leveling solutions. Their Power Level system is a price-conscious option equipped on many mid-range RVs.

Four electric gearboxes slowly turn jackscrews to level the RV. Atwood auto-levelers get the job done, but they’re not as fast or robust as hydraulic models. Still, Power Level works reliably in most cases if you take it slow on uneven ground.

Atwood offers a basic two-button control panel on the RV, with an optional smartphone app for added convenience. It’s a decent choice if you don’t require rapid or off-road leveling performance.

Valterra Automatic Leveling System

Valterra makes rugged auto-leveling kits that replace manual jacks on many RVs. Their electric motor system works on Class A, B, and C models.

One benefit of Valterra is flexible installation on more coaches. The separate control box wires to proprietary leveling jacks you install in place of existing manual jacks. Owners can select anywhere from 2 to 6 jacks depending on RV size.

Valterra auto-leveling isn’t as advanced as some OEM systems but adds a level of convenience for the cost. I’d recommend them for light-duty leveling needs on smooth terrain.

Key Buying Considerations

Now let’s go over some important factors to weigh when choosing an RV auto-leveling system:

Types of RVs Supported

  • Will the system work on a 5th wheel, travel trailer, or certain RV class?
  • OEM vs universal aftermarket kits – which can be installed on your specific RV model?

Leveling Speed

  • Hydraulic systems level fastest (under 1 minute), while budget electric models take 3-8 minutes.
  • Faster is more convenient but costs more. Determine if speed is worth the price.

Uneven Terrain Handling

  • Hydraulic auto-levelers with adjustable jack heights excel off-road.
  • Electric models work fine on flat campsites but can struggle on slopes.

Ease of Use

  • Simple vs advanced digital controls. Some systems auto-level fully with one button.
  • How user-friendly is the panel or smartphone app for operation?

Power and Maintenance Needs

  • Electric vs hydraulic. Hydraulic systems require fluid upkeep and can leak over time.
  • But electric motors draw more amps and have more breakdown points.


  • OEM hydraulic levelers cost $4,000-$6,000. Aftermarket electric kits run $1,000-$2,000.
  • Weigh performance needs vs long-term costs over the RV’s lifetime.

Warranty Coverage

  • Manufacturer warranty term for parts & labor (typically 1-2 years)
  • Support network for repairs – are certified techs readily available?

Tips for RV Auto-Leveling

Based on my experience, here are some key tips for smoothly operating and maintaining an RV auto-leveling system:

  • Take it slow and steady – don’t rush the leveling on uneven ground. Gradually extend jacks.
  • Use a spotter outside the RV to check jack contacts and guide the leveling.
  • Inspect and grease jack mounting points periodically to prevent wear and jamming.
  • Keep an eye out for leaks in hydraulic hoses and cylinders that could cause fluid loss over time.
  • Disconnect coach air suspension before leveling for proper stabilization.
  • Carry tire pads or boards to place under jacks if they sink into soft ground.
  • Know your system’s weight capacities and don’t overload jacks to avoid damage.
  • For manual operation, use a powered drill with the emergency nut as a backup.

Ultimately, choosing the right auto-leveling system comes down to your RV’s needs and budget.

If you do extensive dry camping or off-road travel, a robust hydraulic leveler like Lippert Level Up or HWH is worth the premium price. They provide the best performance on uneven terrain.

For simple leveling on reasonably flat campsites, Atwood Power Level and Valterra offer reliable electric options at lower cost. They may occasionally struggle on slopes but nicely automate basic setup.

No matter which system you choose, having some type of auto-leveling really upgrades the camping experience. Stabilizing and prepping your RV with the press of a button lets you quickly get the fun part – relaxation and enjoying the outdoors!

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