My automatic timer.
It is a programable timer. It plugs into the wall and its side has an outlet that you can plug any device into. It can be programmed to turn things on and off at a given time. Its manual describes its use to include having a lamp go on and off at different times which could be used to make it look like someone is home. I use it for my slow cooker.
Why do I love it?
One of my biggest pet peeves with using the slow cooker is that typically things get over done. Meat can get dry and thicker sauces can burn. When working I am gone from the house for 9 hours. This is way too long to set something in a slow cooker to cook, even on low. I had family members search for a programable slow cooker for my birthday this year. I wanted one with a delay start. After much searching, my sister, Jes, and Hugh proclaimed that a slow cooker with that feature does not exist. You can find slow cookers that flip from a cooking setting to a "keep warm" setting after a specific time, but I always find things still cook on "keep warm" and who wants their Hawaiian Chicken "keeping warm" for 7 hours until supper?
This timer allows me to program a time for my slow cooker to start cooking. I get it all set in the morning and it won't start cooking until I want it to. If you worry about food sitting on the counter before starting to cook (I don't - It is very cold out of the fridge, and usually semi-frozen still), you could just freeze a portion of your recipe, like the sauce on a teriyaki chicken recipe, and it would act as an ice pack in your slow cooker. I just got this timer for my birthday and look forward to using it every couple of weeks when I head back to work.
Another great things about this timer? They are inexpensive. Online I have seen non-digital timers for under $10. The one I have is just under $20. Check out Canadian Tire.