Apple's Spotlight stores a great deal of useful information about your Mac's files. Much more than the Spotlight Menu lets you easily access. Both HoudahSpot and Tembo are file-finding programs which make use of Spotlight data, but do so in a much sleeker and more powerful way. Actually, two very different sleek, powerful ways!
Let's take a look at the difference between the two programs:
if you like to configure your searches, aiming to find only the specific file(s) you're looking for. HoudahSpot is like the old Mac Find File, from before OS X. It lets you search by file name, text contents, keywords and tags, modification date, location, and every other specification you might possibly imagine.
You can, for example, search for files in a single specified folder which contain the word "lasagna" and which have been modified in the last two hours (or weeks or years). Or you can simply search your whole Mac for a file with "windsurfing" in the title. You set the specifications for each search, and HoudahSpot drills down to find files meeting your specifications.
is simpler. There's nothing to configure or specify; just quickly type some text in the search box, and Tembo will gather any/all files having anything to do with that text. You'll be shown a broad list of results to browse through until you've found what you're looking for. It the list is long, you can narrow it by asking Tembo to show only files of a certain type, date range, Mac location, etc. The winnowing tools are quite powerful, but they're strictly optional.
If you pretty much like Spotlight but wish it worked better and more powerfully, Tembo's for you. If you want to build powerful, specific searches your own way, then you want HoudahSpot.
Use Tembo for easy, everyday searches (your recipe for beef strogonoff, a photo titled "Einstein”).
Use HoudahSpot for more focused, complex searches (an icon file 1024 pixels wide last accessed sometime before 2013, a spreadsheet created between January and April 2010 labeled "important" which includes both your landlord's name and your lawyer's name).
Tembo is right brain, HoudahSpot is left brain.
Tembo is from Venus, HoudahSpot is from Mars.
But why not download trial versions of both, and see for yourself?
Credit for this excellent write-up goes to Jimmbo