Zip, RAR, and 7z – A brief comparison of popular archive compression formats

We often need to send a large number of files to colleagues or friends via email or other file transfer technologies. We prefer to use file compression tools like 7-Zip, WinRAR, or WinZip to compress all files into a single archive file, resulting in a smaller file size that is easier to send and upload.

Everybody loves a compression tool that consists of everything in one place. However, which file compression application is better: 7-Zip, WinRAR, or WinZip? Which file compression tool provides the highest compression ratio and shortest file size while maintaining original quality? Dive into this article to learn more about the most friendly and useful compression tool for your professional and personal life.

What is 7-ZIP?

7-Zip files make it easy to send and download files from the internet and help free up space on your system with its high compression rate used when archiving. They also support large file sizes—theoretically up to 16 billion GB too!

7-Zip is one of the more popular compression tools, but most people use it to open or create ZIP files rather than using the more proprietary 7-Zip files. The main reason for this is the compatibility provided by the format. Pretty much every system out there has a way to open ZIP files, and using 7-Zip files means people need to install 7-Zip or another third-party app that supports them to work with the files.

Opening 7z files on Mac is easy too. You have to locate the 7z file on your system, open the right-click menu and select open with Archive Utility.

What is WinRAR?

RAR is also known as Roshal Archive and is more popular than the ZIP format. This file format is usually used for data compression, error recovery, and file spanning. RAR contains many files together and uses .rar as a file extension. This file format can be created by using the WinRAR application and extracted by WinRAR or WinZip application. The RAR file is preferred most as all existing operating systems support it.

RAR uses a compression algorithm that is substantially better and efficient than the DEFLATE compression method. The rate of compression of RAR is much better than that of the ZIP format.

What is WinZip?

WinZip can create Zip files (.zip or .zipx), lha/lzh files, and UUencoded files and can extract from several other archive formats. WinZip can also open the more seldom used ARJ, LZH, and ARC file formats but requires external programs to do so.

WinZip has a simple drag-and-drop interface that allows you to view individual files in a zip file without unzipping the file. It will also launch installation programs from a zip file and automatically clean up after the installation.

Platforms Supported

7-Zip is supported on Windows 10/8/7 (32-bit, 64 bit) and Windows Vista/XP/2016/2012/2008/2003/2000/NT.

WinRAR is supported on Windows 10 and older versions; however, some recent versions of WinRAR don’t work in many older operating systems.

WinZip is supported on Windows 10/8/7/Vista. macOS 10.8 or higher. The iOS and Android app of WinZip are also available.

Results

According to geeksforgeeks, 7-Zip is the best compression format owing to its high compression ratio, strong AES-256 encryption, and self-extracting capabilities. Moreover, it is an open-source file archive format, and however, certain operating system support caveats do exist.

Compression Rate and File Size

The compression rate and the output file size of 7-Zip, WinRAR, and WinZip don’t differ much; however, the output format you choose can make a difference.

For instance, when you choose .zipx format rather than .zip format when using WinZip for file compression. The ZIPX format has a higher compression ratio than ZIP. If you choose the 7Z format instead of the ZIP format using the 7-Zip to compress files, the 7Z format would have a much higher compression ratio than the ZIP format.

Based on the test, to compress 1.5 GB of video files, 7-Zip delivers a top-notch compression rate, WinRAR comes as the second, while WinZip provides a compression ratio about 6% lower than 7-Zip. But if you choose the advanced compression format .zipx when using WinZip, its compression ratio is almost the same as 7-Zip.

Encryption Password

Apart from 7-Zip and WinRAR, WinZip is most reliable for its strong and secured compression. Millions of organizations and consumers rely on WinZip to increase productivity, facilitate file sharing, and keep information private. WinZip, the world’s most popular compression and encryption software, has apps for all of today’s most popular platforms and devices, allowing users to transmit data more easily via the cloud, email, and social media.

Conclusion

When comparing 7-Zip, WinRAR, and WinZip, we can see that all three of these top file compression applications can pack and unpack files effectively. 7-Zip is a wonderful option if you want a completely free file compressor that produces the smallest file size.

Choosing a file compression tool can be tough, but things get smoother with the right equipment at your hand. Some people would prioritize performance, while others might focus more on the portability of the device. On the other hand, some people might prefer storage to go for the device under their budget.

As you can see, 7-zip is preferred the most. The biggest advantage it has over other file compression tools is that it is free.

In terms of compression, both 7-Zip and WinRAR are the best. However, other operating systems do not completely support their default formats, 7Z and RAR. If you wish to open 7Z or RAR files on a computer that isn’t running Windows, you’ll need to first download and install the appropriate software. On the other hand, a WinZip file can be opened with its application on various systems.

As a result, whether you use 7-Zip, WinRAR, or WinZip depends entirely on your system, internet, and choice.

Post Author: Tom Pai