To Auto-Level or Not To Auto-Level: A Guide to RV Leveling Systems

Before you take off, one of the first things you’ll need to learn is how to properly level your RV. This is crucial for comfort and safety.

You’ll have two main options when it comes to RV leveling systems: auto-leveling or manual leveling. Both have their pros and cons, which we’ll explore in this guide.

Auto-Leveling Systems: The Hands-Off Approach

Auto-leveling systems take the effort out of leveling your RV. They use high-tech sensors and hydraulic jacks to automatically get your rig perfectly level, usually at the push of a button.

The main benefits of auto-leveling:

  • Total hands-off operation – Auto-leveling requires minimal input from you. Just push a button and it does the rest!
  • Precision – The system’s sensors are better than the human eye at gauging level. It’ll get you perfectly level every time.
  • Speed – An auto-leveling system can get you fully situated in under a minute in most cases. Much faster than manual leveling.
  • Simplicity – Auto-leveling is designed to be simple enough for anyone to use. No expertise required!
  • Safety – Precise automated leveling reduces the risks of operating while unleveled.

Pretty sweet deal, right? With auto-leveling, leveling your RV is fast, easy, and painless. However, these systems do have some downsides to consider:

  • Cost – Auto-leveling is expensive, often $2000+ for just the system alone. It’s a premium feature.
  • Maintenance – The hydraulics and sensors require maintenance and can break down over time. Repairs can be costly.
  • Limited control – You simply tell it when to start/stop. You have little control over the process.
  • Leveling rangeAuto-levelers have a limited range of operation. Very uneven sites can pose a challenge.

For many RVers, the convenience factor of auto-leveling outweighs the downsides. But it’s not for everyone. Next, let’s look at the manual approach.

Manual Leveling Systems: The Do-It-Yourself Method

With manual leveling, you level the RV yourself using basic tools like bubble levels, blocks, and stabilizer jacks. Here are the main pros:

  • Cost – Manual leveling doesn’t require any expensive additional gear. Just simple tools most RVers already have.
  • Simplicity – No complex systems to break or maintain. Just you and some basic tools.
  • Total control – You’re in charge of the entire process from start to finish.
  • Wider leveling range – You’re able to eyeball uneven sites and get creative in how you level.
  • Boondocking readiness – Manual leveling requires no power source to operate, ideal for off-grid camping.

Of course, doing it yourself also comes with some downsides:

  • Time and effort – Leveling manually takes more physical exertion and time on your part. It can take 15-30 minutes in some cases.
  • Inconsistency – Results can vary each time depending on the site and your diligence with the bubble levels.
  • Expertise required – Knowing the proper manual leveling process takes practice and experience.
  • Safety risks – Improper leveling can put you and others at risk if not done carefully.

For some RVers, taking the time to level their RV themselves is rewarding and preferred. For others, it’s a hassle they’d rather live without. There are solid cases to be made for both approaches.

Key Factors To Consider When Deciding

So which type of RV leveling system is right for you – auto or manual? Here are some key factors to consider:

How much time are you willing to spend leveling at each site?

  • If you want fast setup so you can get on with your camping fun, auto-leveling saves substantial time.
  • If you don’t mind taking 10-30 minutes to get perfectly dialed in, manual leveling can be rewarding.

How important is precision in leveling to you?

  • Auto-leveling uses sensitive sensors to get truly perfect leveling.
  • Manual leveling relies on your eye and bubble levels, with slightly more variance.

What is your budget for an RV leveling system?

  • Auto-leveling systems are a premium feature starting around $2000.
  • Manual leveling uses tools you likely already own for little added cost.

How self-sufficient and off-grid do you want to be?

  • Auto-leveling requires an external power source to operate the hydraulics.
  • With manual leveling, you need only simple hand tools to get leveled.

Do you mind taking the time to learn proper manual leveling techniques?

  • Auto-leveling is designed to be simple for anyone to use out of the box.
  • Perfecting manual leveling requires studying proper technique and practicing.

Now that we’ve explored the pros, cons, and key considerations for each approach, here are two RV leveling system recommendations:

Auto-Leveling: Lippert Ground Control 3.0

If you want hands-off automated leveling, the Lippert Ground Control 3.0 is a top choice. It uses automatic level sensing and six hydraulic jacks to level your RV in about 60 seconds. Convenient one-touch operation levels your RV even on uneven terrain.

Key Features:

  • One-touch auto level and retract
  • Dual zone auto level sensor
  • Manual jack operation mode
  • Automatic jack safety locks
  • Wireless remote and control panel

Manual Leveling: Lynx Levelers + Camco Leveling Blocks

For manual leveling, Lynx plastic levelers combined with interlocking Camco leveling blocks are a budget-friendly option.

The Lynx levelers slide easily under your jacks to make small adjustments. The Camco blocks give you more lift on uneven ground. Use them with good quality bubble levels for efficient, cost-effective manual leveling.

Key Features:

  • Lynx Levelers: Lightweight, stackable, durable plastic construction.
  • Camco Blocks: Interlocks for stability, builds up to 6 inches of lift, weatherproof

Get Out There and Start Adventuring!

Well, there you have it – whether you choose auto-leveling for hands-free convenience or manual leveling for self-reliant control, you can have confidence your RV will be safely setup at every campsite.

Leveling may seem intimidating for first-timers, but take it slow and you’ll get the hang of it quickly. Proper leveling is crucial not just for comfort, but for appliance functionality and reducing wear on your RV systems.

Once you’ve got leveling mastered, you’ll be truly ready to maximize your RV adventures and make priceless memories on the road. Here’s to many happy, memory-filled miles ahead!

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