I started making sausages using a KitchenAid meat grinder and sausage stuffing attachment. The grinder works pretty well for the small volumes I make (My largest batch was 16 lbs) but I was never happy with the stuffing process. The sausage would tend to get stuck in the feed tube and had a tendency to squeeze past the pushing tool, resulting in a gooey mess. It did the job but was far from efficient.
Enter the Hakka sausage stuffer. After doing some research on several different models, sizes, and form factors (vertical vs horizontal), I went with the 11 lb Hakka horizontal model and I havent been disappointed. The construction is sturdy and it is very easy to operate. I could probably do it myself but I usually use a helper to crank while I guide the sausage as it comes out of the tube. Goes a little faster that way.
Filling the machine is very fast due to the way the cylinder pivots to the vertical position. Just add your sausage, press it firmly to remove excess air, and youre ready to go. It comes with four tube diameters but Ive only need to use two of them so far. I used the largest tube to fill 2.5 summer sausage casings and one of the medium tubes to do brats/Italian sausages. Night and day improvement when compared to the KitchenAid process. What used to take me over an hour to complete is now done in 10 minutes or so with zero frustration.
The reason I went with the horizontal model is that I feel like there may be less waste due to not needing the 90 degree bend prior to the stuffing tube. There are ways to reduce that, such as feeding a couple slices of bread after the meat, but Im happy with my decision. It does take up more counter space than the vertical model and you do need to position it at the edge of the counter to accommodate the hand crank, so bear that in mind.
All in all, very happy with this product and I hope to enjoy it for years to come. This has been a great upgrade to my sausage making process and makes it a MUCH more enjoyable experience!