Auto level is nice but not absolutely necessary once you figure out how. It was worth the $40 to me to upgrade to auto level but you have to modify the firmware and hardware which voids warrantee because you have to splice wires.
The best version of leveling is a touch pin not capacitive or inductive. (And only the touch pin will work with a glass bed).
Dave strongly recommends that I use the BL-touch (knock off is ok YMMV). He tried other options, they did not work, and wants me to avoid wasting time and money. The genuine article is sold by Creality for $49
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