What comes to mind when you hear the word compression? Extra storage space, Faster download time, right? Some might argue that unlike before, we now have considerably large hard disks that undermine the significance of compression software. Though, they forget one thing. The larger the hard disk the more it will cost you. And what about when you want to send files over connections with limited bandwidth or via email. Gmail, for instance, can only send files not exceeding 25 MB. When you put these factors into consideration then you begin to learn how a compression software can assist you.
Also if we are to think more critically file compression can be a great way to increase productivity. By reducing the time taken to send and download files over the internet then you save valuable time that could be utilized elsewhere. I know. It’s deep but it’s true.
Then there are the additional features that come bundled within the compression software. Like file encryption. So in this post, we aim to help you choose the most ideal compression software by highlighting the 5 best tools by our standards.
Would this even be a list of compression software without WinZip? This was one of the first compression tools and many years later it’s just as effective. The biggest challenge of using WinZip, perhaps, is that you have to pay for a license when most of the other major compression tools are free. However, I would say that it is understandable considering the extra functionalities it offers.
For instance, WinZip includes its own compression format type called .zipx. This file format has a better compression rate than all the other compressed formats and so by extension WinZip has better compression rates than all the other software. Am not one to be convinced by mere words so I decided to prove how true this claim is by testing WinZip’s compression rate against that of 7-Zip and WinRar.
I used a 1.5GB video file and a 10GB ISO image as my test files. True to their word, the Zipx format had the best compression. Although in the case of ISO image, it was evenly matched with 7-Zip both recording 43% compression rates. You can, therefore, already guess which is my second best pick for compression software. Other file types supported by WinZip include 7z, TAR, GZIP, VHD, and XZ.
WinZip has also tried to keep up with current trends as is evidenced by the integration with the cloud. It provides an easy way to upload and download files on the cloud and offers support for various cloud services like DropBox, Google Drive, CloudMe and SkyDrive.
This software is also integrated with Microsoft Office to facilitate easy zipping of your documents. It also includes add-ons that extend all its functionalities to Windows Explorer, Microsoft Outlook, Photos, and SharePoint. WinZip uses unlossy file compression and will also protect your data through banking-level encryption.
7-Zip is a free open-source compression tool that is also quite popular. And one major reason for its popularity is its great compression rates that are on the same playing field as some of the paid versions. 7-Zip allows the compression of files into numerous formats including its own 7z that enables you to create self-extracting files. The developers also claim that this software can compress files of up to 16 billion GB. And seeing that I don’t have such a file to confirm this, I guess we will have to believe it.
File compression with 7-Zip is rather easy. It features a straightforward customizable interface that allows you to remove options that you don’t need. You can drag your file into the compression window or add it directly from the UI by following a simple file tree that works the same as Windows Explorer.
7-Zip will also be a great tool for encrypting your files. You can also use it to split the very large files into smaller volumes to facilitate easier sharing. Unlike WinZip, you cannot use 7-Zip to repair damaged archives. However, this being a free software you were always bound to make some compromise.
WinRar is another staple name in the file compression niche thanks to its ability to create RAR files. Most of the other compression tools can only extract the RAR files. You might also have come across WinRAR from the numerous jokes and memes that circulate around the web regarding its free trial. Although WinRAR is presented as a premium software with 30-days free trial, you will still be able to use its full features years after the free trial ended. The downside being that you have to deal with a continuous pop-up window reminding you to purchase the software.
Another highlight feature of WinRAR is the ability to create a ‘solid archive box’ that enables you to compress multiple files at the same time. On top of the RAR format, you will still be able to compress files into various other formats like ACE, ARJ, BZ2, and GZ.
The WinRAR interface is not what you would call appealing but WinRAR has tried to improve it over time. Beginners may still have trouble navigating through the numerous available options but they are all well labeled for better understanding. It also includes a wizard to guide you through the zipping and unzipping process.
WinRAR uses 256-bit encryption to protect your data and can also be used to repair broken archives. The software is available for both Windows and Mac and comes with multiple language versions.
PeaZip is another open-source compression tool that is available freely for both Windows and Linux users. It can be used to compress files into over 150 compressed formats including its own PEA format.
If you already have WinRAR installed on your computer, PeaZip can integrate with it allowing you to create and extract RAR files. This tool comes with a visibly colorful and intuitive UI that’s a complete deviation from what you will see on 7-Zip. Also, unlike its open-source counterpart, you can fix broken archives using PeaZip.
This tool is also available as a portable version. Which means even if it’s not your main compressing tool you could still carry it around in your drive for zipping and unzipping on the go. Another distinguishing feature of this tool is the ability to convert archived files into different formats. PeaZip can also be used to encrypt your files and uses two-factor authentication. Other great functionalities include a password manager, secure file deletion and file hashing.
Wondershare is not your typical file compression tool but if its videos you are interested in shrinking then it’s an excellent choice. Being compatible with over 1000 video formats it’s hard to imagine any type of video that you cannot compress using Wondershare.
This tool works by manipulating file parameters such as video resolution, encoders, bitrate, format, and others to achieve the compressed state. It also includes some editing capabilities that allow you to crop, trim, rotate, and perform other editing features before you can compress the video.
Wondershare also includes a video download feature that lets you download videos from all the popular video platforms by pasting the video URL. You can also compress multiple videos at the same time thanks to the batch processing feature. Other additional features include GIF maker, screen recorder, casting video to the TV and the ability to fix Media Metadata. Wondershare is available for both Windows and Mac users.