If you need a quick solution to compress and decompress files, stay with us, and read the following article because we will get you out of doubt about which compressor/decompressor to use according to your needs. But first, a few important notes to understand before downloading any app for decompression and file compression.
What is the main purpose of file compression and decompression?
Any file compressor/decompressor’s goal is to make the files that we want to store on our devices or want to share take up much less space. It seems obvious, but this quality is especially useful nowadays for files that we want to store and send through mobile devices with less storage space than laptops or desktops. For this reason, more solutions are emerging that have been developed exclusively for “mobile”.
In addition to taking up less space on your computers and devices, file compression allows you to share and download files faster and easier.
Finally, it is important to highlight that the programs to compress and decompress files go beyond their basic functionalities, allowing them to:
- compress and decompress in different formats
- protect, manage, and share the files through very diverse systems and platforms
How are Zip files different from Rar files?
Zip and Rar are the most common compression formats, but you should know some differences between them.
- Zip format: Zips could be said to be more “universal” than Rares since they can be created, displayed, and/or extracted by almost any decompression program. They are not limited to a single program. As for operating system compatibility, Windows XP, Mac OS X, and some versions of Linux usually have a pre-installed program to open Zip files.
- Rar format: Rars comes more limitations, possibly because they came up later. They are not compatible with any decompression program or application. However, their main advantage is that they reduce the files’ size to a minimum. Still, the differences are not very significant. In both cases, the original content of compressed or decompressed files is not affected and can be easily stored and shared.
Programs and applications to compress and decompress files
With the following list, we will prioritize specific programs and applications for Microsoft and Android environments. In some cases this apps can also be used on Linux. In the last section, we will show some of the most popular ones for MAC/iOS.
7-Zip is a free, open-source file compression and decompression software under the GNU LGPL license. Today, it is the most popular free program because of:
- a high degree of compatibility.
It works with its own compression format (7z). Still, it supports a wide variety of formats in terms of decompression, including:
- and others
One of its great strengths is that it has a very simple interface that makes navigation much easier for the novice user. In a very simple way, the user can extract, compress, or visualize the files’ content. It allows for the compression of enormous files. It can be useful for both companies and individuals. You can access the program through this link.
The apps WinZip and WinRar are the most widely known file compression and decompression software, despite being paid solutions. WinZip already has 23 versions and, since its birth, has been evolving and adapting to new user needs. It is one of the most popular programs. Even though, as we mentioned, it is not free. Why would users spend money on this app if there are free alternatives? One of the main reasons is its integration with Microsoft, which makes it much easier for the user to compress or decompress files quickly and easily.
It also has interesting advanced options for sharing files from the program itself through a built-in option, integrating:
- Yahoo Mail
It is compatible with the cloud services like:
- Google Drive
- and OneDrive
The software allows file sharing through the main social networks such as:
The app also adapts its interface to different devices, without forgetting one of the features that consumers like the most: its options for ensuring file security. It backs up and keeps files encrypted and secure. It is capable of extracting files in 13 different formats. Still, its Achilles’ heel is, for the moment, that it does not compress in formats such as:
- LHA / LZH
Operating system requirements: Microsoft Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 7, and Windows Vista.
There are two versions, WinZip23 Standard or WinZip23 Pro, with a 30-day money-back guarantee. There is a 21-day free trial period. You can access the software by following this link. It is also available as an Android app on Google Play. Access the mobile application via this link.
WinRar is another popular program on this list. Along with WinZip, it`s would be the most widely used of the paid programs. However, it has no extra maintenance costs. Also, the license is valid for life. WinRar, as you may have guessed, is a software created based on the patented Rar format. Rar formats stand out for their high compression capacities (reduces the files size in a higher percentage).
WinRar is the officially authorized program for creating and compressing files in Rar formats. Still, it can decompress files in many other formats. The interface is not as attractive and intuitive as others. A free trail version is available for 40 days. You can access the download of the software via this link.
This software is one of the most prominent of the free apps. It is simple to use and quite agile. For those users who are beginners, IZArc has a basic guide that allows them to start using it easily. Another great advantage, besides the simplicity, is the compatibility to decompress a wide range of file formats such as:
- TAR, and many others
In addition to those mentioned in the previous paragraph, the most important features are the high security of the free programs, since they encrypt the files so that unauthorized people cannot access them. IZArc is available in different languages and allows you to repair damaged files or change their format. You can download IZArc at this link.
PeaZip is an less known open-source free software. This app is based on technologies such as:
- and PEA
The interface is clean and simple. Also it can be used with Microsoft Windows and GNU/Linux operating systems.
As far as decompression, it supports an immense amount of formats (at the moment – 180 different file formats), among them:
Although in the compression we see it something more limited. Despite these small limitations, it allowing formats such as:
- XZ, and others.
It is a computer program suitable for personal or professional use. It stands out for its high-security standards—access PeaZip through this link.
Hamster Zip Archiver
This file compression and decompression software is not one of the most popular. We include it in this list because it is especially useful for those who are not very agile when using computer programs.
HamsterZip Archiver is highly intuitive and very easy to use. Its interface is very functional (just drag and drop files to the home page). Also, it is a free program that supports a large number of file formats. It also includes cloud support for direct storage of compressed files in Drive or Dropbox. One of the most remarkable aspects is its social component. The social options allow you to share files in just two clicks and also store them in a cloud.
With this program, you can:
- extract ZIP, RAR, TAR, and 7Z formats
You can download it for free for Windows 7, 8, and 10 through this link.
What about MACs?
The solutions we have shown above are ideally suited for Microsoft environments and, in some cases, also for Linux. However, if you are a Mac lover, there are different options to compress and decompress files in the market.
One of the apps for Mac users is Keka
It is a file compressor and decompressor capable of creating files with up to 9 different compression formats. In terms of decompression, it can handle 24 formats, including the most popular ones such as:
- 7z, and others
Also, its interface is clean and intuitive. It is a low-cost softwere that you can download through this link.
Other compressors and decompressors of files for Mac:
- The Unarchiver
- Unrar for Mac
- Better Zip
- Commander One