Over several years, term compression for laypeople has been synonymized with WinZip. Most of the users are more acquainted with the ZIP files than any other compression format. WinRAR too has been around for quite some time, but it is not as popular as WinZip.
WinZip tool lets you compress the files in the ZIP format. It also helps you decompress and extract such files. But, the problem is, WinZip is a paid tool and not all of us can afford it. Thankfully, there are some powerful and effective compression tools out there that you can use as the WinZip alternatives. In this article, we take a look at some of those tools. Keep reading.
10 Best Free WinZip & WinRAR Alternatives
1. B1 Free Archiver
BI Free Archiver is most definitely one of the best alternatives to WinZip you can have this year. This free to use application is available on a variety of OS platforms including Mac, Windows, Linux and even Android. What I really like about it is the professionally designed interface that promotes simplicity, ease of use and yet high functionality. The other thing I like about it is that it supports a number of formats such as zip, rar, 7z, xpi, jar and many more.
B1 Free Archiver is also available on a web-based platform. This means you don’t have to download any app if you don’t want to. For instance, when you are working on a company provided computer and you are not allowed to install an application. But, for heavy files I would recommend the desktop version.
This compressing tool is free of ads and is safe. But, at the time of installation, it will offer you to install an adware. So, make sure you skip it.
If there is a free WinZip alternative that truly deserves to be on this list, it is certainly 7-Zip. This open source compressor tool is free to download, install and use without any in-app purchases. 7-Zip is a lightweight software and barely takes 1 MB of your storage. Yet, it is highly effective. In fact, you will love to know that it offers nearly 10-15% better compression as compared to the more popular tools like Winzip or Winrar. 7-Zip also offers a native compression format called 7z. If that’s what you are compressing the files into, it could be up to 70% better compression than the others.
Unfortunately, 7-Zip is available only on Windows at this time and you must have Windows 7 or higher version. Nevertheless, it is a great compression tool which supports a wide range of formats including zip, rar, WIM, tar, GZIP and of course 7z.
If you are looking for the best free WinZip alternatives you should have in 2017, jZip is another tool you would like to consider. It is a free tool that supports all the usual formats including zip, rar, TAR, GZIP, 7z etc. What I like about it is that, like 7Zip, it also offers higher compression compared to the tools like WinZip and WinRar.
jZip is a simple, easy to use tool. It is good for quick zipping and unzipping. It does not offer advanced options like 7-zip and thus it is more suited for casual, standard users. Since it isn’t exactly very feature rich, it also has a much simpler and straightforward interface as well. jZip is also available only on Windows.
Please be a little careful during installation as it may offer to install an adware. If you are wary you will be able to uncheck the options and skip that part.
If you are looking for a simple, no-frills tool that can quickly and easily unpack the compressed file, ExtractNow is what you should be looking at. This tool has a very straightforward and easy to use interface, which is perfect for the beginners and casual users. ExtractNow is meant only to unpack the compressed files. This means it does not offer any compression feature.
What I really liked about it (and I hope you also will) is that it can extract multiple compressed file without any hassles. All you have to do is drag and drop the desired files onto the interface and hit the ‘Extract’ button. The tool will take care of the rest for you.
ExtractNow may not be the right tool if you wish to compress files. However, for unpacking it is pretty solid. It is available on Windows XP and later versions (including Windows 10).
5. Hamster Free Zip Archiver
Hamster Free Zip Archiver is another good compressor tool you can use in place of WinZip for which you need to pay a lot of money. Even though Hamster may look like a simple tool yet it offers some solid features and is quite powerful. It offers better compression than many popular tools. Also, I have noticed that it is usually twice as fast as the other tools I have tried. This free tool also lets you encrypt your compressed files by password protecting them. Also, it allows you to choose the level of compression so that you can retain as many details as possible.
Hamster Free Zip archiver is available only on Windows at this time. Sadly, it is not supported on Windows 10 yet. If you have Windows 7 or 8, it could be a great choice. It supports a variety of formats including ZIP, RAR, 7z, XZ, TAR and more. Hamster also offers inbuilt cloud integration. Be careful during the installation process and uncheck the offer to install adware.
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PeaZip has also earned a good reputation as a compressor tool over a couple of years. This open source tool is free to install and free to use. It is a feature-rich compressor with many advanced features suited for professionals. It also offers all the basic features and makes it a good option for the beginners as well. PeaZip is a powerful tool that can process multiple files simultaneously. PeaZip is not just a good alternative to WinZip but also to 7-zip. In fact, PeaZip and 7-Zip are much alike. You can have them both on your computer as they take only a little amount of space.
PeaZip too supports all the regular compression formats including ZIP, RAR, BZ2, 7z, TAR etc. This free tool is available on almost all the versions of Windows in use at this time including 10.
7. Zip Extractor – Chrome Extension
As you can see, most of the tools we have listed here are designed for Windows platform. Those who use Mac or Linux may feel left out. However, don’t worry. There is a cross-platform extractor that works on all the OS platforms on which Google Chrome browser is supported. Zip Extractor is a Chrome extension available in Chrome store.
Zip Extractor only extracts the files and does not compress them. It can extract compressed files from Google Drive to Google Drive. It can also extract the compressed files saved on the local hard drive. But, remember that even the files saved on your PC will be extracted to the Google Drive. If you are looking for a simple way to extract files online, Zip Extractor is perfect for you. It also supports almost all the popular formats.
Bandizip isn’t as popular as the other tools on this list. However, it is well known among those who understand compression technology. Bandizip is good for beginners as well as advanced users. It can make the optimal use of your computer’s resources for faster compression. It also offers better compression ratio than many other tools. Bandizip is available only on Windows (including Windows 10). It also supports a wide range of formats including ZIP, RAR, 7Z, TAR and more. Bandizip supports powerful encryption technologies including AES 256 to keep your files safe.
9. Ashampoo Zip Free
I have noticed that most of the free alternatives to WinZip fail to offer a simple, easy to user interface (with some exceptions). Ashampoo Zip Free is definitely not like them. You will love the way the interface has been designed and how the various elements are laid out.
Ashampoo also comes with a paid version but most of the basic features anyone can need are available for free. It also supports a variety of formats including ZIP, RAR, 7Z and more. It is a good tool to have.
Zipware comes with an inbuilt virus scanner that makes sure you do not end up extracting a malicious file. So, if you are extracting an archive downloaded from an unknown source, you can be confident Zipware will prevent any harm to your computer. Even though Zipware is free, it looks a lot like a paid, professional tool. This tool works on donation. If you like it, you may want to contribute. However, even if you don’t, it still works fine.
Compression is no longer a service used by the advanced users. Almost all the computer users must have felt the need for a compression tool at some point or the other. Even if you do not have to compress a file, you would have probably needed to extract a compressed archive. WinZip is great but it does not offer any free version. It only has a 30-day free trial. This is where these free tools come into the picture.
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