A sauerkraut cutter is not essential for making sauerkraut but it does help if you're doing a large quantity.
I've recently started making sauerkraut and am fermenting only a small quantity at a time until I'm confident of success so I'm still cutting my cabbage by hand.
But already I can see that slicing up bigger quantities of cabbage will be a tedious chore.
A sauerkraut cutter will make the job quicker and more enjoyable. If you're a neatness fanatic you'll get it all the same size. I start off chopping everything an indentical size but as the minutes pass my cutting gets less and less precise. I'm sure I'm not the only one!
You can solve all that with your very own 'kraut cutter!
This model has 3 stainless steel blades and will cut/shred into thin strips. It has a wooden frame and can be taken to bits for easy cleaning. Comes with warranty.
This type of cutter used to be used in the old days in Germany (home of sauerkraut) and was called a krauthobel.
The Weston Cabbage Shredder shown left is the sensible way to go (although not everone loves it - reviews are very mixed) but if you really want to push the boat out, take a gander at the TSM Products Stainless Steel Cabbage Slicer. I can't really see why it should cost so much more but perhaps it has hidden benefits that as a relative sauerkraut novice I am ignorantly unaware of!
The TSM model does have a super large hopper so that you can fit extra big cabbages in to it. I'm sure if you were doing a lot that would be a real bonus. It slices thin (about 1mm) which is very suitable for coleslaw but some users feel it is a little bit too thin for sauerkraut.
There really is no reason why you can't slice the cabbage with a sharp knife but I know that many people make 100lbs or more of 'kraut each year and I can imagine that when you have that amount of cabbage to slice that you need something. So, when autumn comes and you're looking at all those cabbages to preserve, unless you have an aged Germany granny who will hand down her krauthobel to you, the solution is one of these kraut or coleslaw cutters.
A few cutters have adjustable blades but most of them are set. You can make minor alterations to the thickness with which it is slicing by changing the pressure you use to hold the cabbage down and the speed with which you are moving the cabbage across the blade.
And those blades are sharp so do take care! If you end up buying a shredder that does not have a holder for the cabbage then make sure you wear a heavy glove or hold the cabbage with a towel - anything to get some distance between your hand and the blade.