Last week, I wrote about some tips for dealing with OS X lacking cut and paste functionality (prior to OS X 10.7 Lion), and one of the best ways to deal with having to move files around was to just ditch Finder altogether and go with a file management app that does allow you to cut and paste. That’s why today, I’m featuring one of those alternatives, TotalFinder, as my App of the Week.

Platform Availability: OS X 10.6 and up.

Cost: 14-day free trial, $18 for a full license – Get it here!

What it is: TotalFinder is a plug-in for Finder that adds a ton of great functionality like cut and paste, tabs, and a dual mode view to Apple’s native file management app. These are intelligent, well-designed features that make sense in pretty much every way. Rather than changing things up altogether, think of TotalFinder as a tweak that greatly enhances the Finder we all know and love.

How does it work: After installing the TotalFinder package, it will run seamlessly. While your finder will appear a little differently, the application will be just as stable as if you didn’t have the plug-in installed.

Features: Cut and Paste – If you’re not running OS X 10.7 Lion, this is definitely the best and most useful TotalFinder feature. Select whatever files/folders you want, cut, and paste to your desired location. It just works without any hitches whatsoever.

Tabbed Browsing – TotalFinder’s code is derived from Chrome, so you may notice that its implementation of tabs is very similar to Google’s browser. Just like with browsers, tabs for file managers are so much better than having multiple windows open. And just like in Chrome, you can move tabs around however you wish, and the same keyboard shortcuts related to tabs work as well (Ctrl+Tab to switch tabs, Command+T to open new tabs, and Command+W to close the current tab).

Dual Mode – This is a very neat view mode that puts two finder tabs side by side within one window. It’s great for comparing folders and cutting or moving items. I personally use it all the time now!

Folders on Top – If you hate how Finder makes it so all your files and folders are mixed up together, a simple checkbox allow you to view folders on top first before any other files. I think this is a much better way to organize all your files and folders.

Narrow Tabs Bar – If you’re running on a MacBook Air, TotalFinder’s developer has thoughtfully included this feature to save 14 pixels from the top of your Finder window.

The Competition: There’s really nothing like TotalFinder, but another Finder alternative I really like is Path Finder.

Path Finder – 30-day free trial, $39.95 for a full license – Download it here.

Unlike TotalFinder, Path Finder is a completely separate application that goes way above and beyond TotalFinder’s capabilities. It offers features like a dual pane file browser by default, as well as a feature called drop stack that’s like a temporary holding area for files you want to move around. Pretty much anything you can do in TotalFinder, you can also do with Path Finder. However, most users probably don’t need Path Finder’s advanced features, and Total Finder is a lot cheaper. For that, I’d recommend Path Finder for most folks.

Summary: Path Finder is a fantastic plug-in that integrates incredibly well into OS X’s native Finder. While the main draw for those on OS X 10.6 is cut and paste functionality, even Lion users can appreciate tabbed browsing, folders on top, and the dual mode view. If you want Finder to work for you instead of having to wrestle with its limitations, download TotalFinder today.

How do you think the native Finder or Path Finder stacks up to TotalFinder? Let us know in the comments!