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[Ask The Readers] WinRAR vs. WinZip vs. 7-Zip: What’s Your Favorite File Archiver?

For most, if not all PC users, a file archiver is among the first apps to be installed during initial setup. There’s a good reason for it, since archived files are highly common and much of the content that we download comes in form of archives. Besides reducing overall file size, archiving is great for combining multiple files into a single file and then using that for easier, faster and more secure sharing and backup. We’ve covered a fair amount of Windows file archivers here at AddictiveTips; now it is time to decide on our and your favorite one.


Image via Shutterstock

Based on my own understanding of the file archiving  apps scene for desktop, there are three big names: WinRAR, WinZip, and 7-Zip. The former two are shareware, while the latter is free and open-source.

WinZip was the king back when I started my journey with personal computers, because most of us didn’t know of any other alternative. Then, as a result of being pushed by power users for better compression, WinRAR started gaining traction.

For years after that, WinRAR had been dominating the file archiving software market. It is famous for its never-ending trial period; users of sites like Reddit, 9GAG and 4chan will know that there are plenty of memes that poke fun at this behavior.

WinZip is still popular, but has taken a position second to WinRAR. It was only dethroned, in my personal opinion, because of just how bloated it became over the years. The latest version of WinZip for Windows comes with social media integration, image resizing, and support for directly uploading archives to different cloud services. WinRAR is focused on file compression and decompression, and that’s why more people prefer it. Also, WinRAR supports zip archives in addition to RAR ones, while WinZip doesn’t support RAR.

However, power users are aware of the third option, and many casual users are also learning about it. 7-Zip is free, open-source, minimal, remarkably fast, and works on all major desktop operating systems. It supports just about every archive format you can throw at it, from commonplace ones like ZIP, RAR, TAR, to unheard of ones by most such as Z and SMZIP. In addition, its own 7z format has been praised by users and critics alike for its higher level of compression compared to other available options. Despite being sparse in the user interface department, 7-Zip gets the job done.

There are plenty of other file archiving desktop apps out there as well. I’m currently experimenting with PeaZip, but I will likely go back to 7-Zip since PeaZip feels a lot slower in comparison, even if it is easier on the eyes. We also positively reviewed KuaiZip last year, praising it for its improved compression rates. Then there’s IZArc as well that’s known for its impressive format support and price tag of free.

Now, you tell us: what is your favorite archiver for Windows, and why do you think everyone should use it?

[polldaddy poll=”7424997″]

Leave a comment

  • simpleas

    i use whatever’s installed. on pc, i have winrar, on mac i have the stock system one.

  • tux.

    Good alternatives are PowerArchiver (not freeware anymore) and PeaZip (quite clumsy GUI though). I, for one, am quite happy with 7-zip, except for the missing .ace support.

  • daastayah

    KuaiZip is pretty decent too

  • EmirSc

    winrar + 2% recovery + fastest mode

    • sylarko

      Just like you, but with 3% recovery and a password in the predefined perfil

  • raceviper13


  • bobvark

    Winrar fan, but like 7zip at work since it is free. Any love for universal extractor? Loved that back when making portable apps was cool.

    • ElLama88

      +1 for Universal Extractor, free and works fine. Limited in scope as it is just an extractor, but it is enough for most users.

  • David Alejandro Restrepo Madri

    7-zip generalmente

  • I purchased a WinZip license probably 10+ years ago. I stopped using it when the installer started coming with bloatware. I also purchased a WinRAR license years ago and love it. I believe it to be faster and have more options than 7-Zip, but as mentioned, it is not free. 7-zip is fantastic in that regards and gets the job done in most cases.

  • jccossart


  • Peter George

    izarc is about the best that i’ve found.

  • bobby6155

    I use 8 Zip on Windows 8

  • Chris


  • ma_t14

    Bandizip for me. I tried them all at some point and Bandizip was the only one that could fully replace winrar for my needs.

  • Guilherme Santos

    I can’t stand 7zip’s extremely ugly interface and icons. I feel on Windows 95. WinRAR for me.

  • JK

    My favorite is 7Zip. It’s open source, simple, lightweight and provides almost all….

  • Chris Granger

    I use WinRAR and 7-Zip about equally.

  • Chris

    I’ve purchased a WinRAR-license years ago but also used WinZIP, 7-zip and many others. Do anybody remember WinACE? I personally prefer WinRAR (not only because I bought a license) for its non-problematic packing and unpacking, nice GUI, the RAR-format in packing.

  • Mongoplus

    I have been using ConeXware PowerArchiver Pro for years and love it.

  • imlostwebid


  • Meow


  • Ocelotty1

    Peazip 🙂

  • rotten77

    I use only Total Commander for about 2 years. If want open other files than zip/rar, I use portable 7zip, which I have somewhere on USB.

  • ElLama88

    In my experience WinRar and PowerArchiver are the best paid software in the bunch, best freebies IMHO are 7-Zip and PeaZip, that says it is based on 7-Zip.
    WinZip gui is quite strange and I never got accustomed over the years, it seems more wizard-oriented than other ones.
    Windows’ own zip manager has strange issues with large or password protected files, I don’t recommend it at all!
    About the speed: PeaZip is remarkably faster than others when you transfer big data to external drives as it does not use system temp files, so that’s why it is my primary choice even if it does not “feel” snappy, and it has GUI for Linux unlike other compressors.

  • Ahmad

    WinRaR, it opens ZIps + you can save archive passwords list

  • Al

    Peazip. Mostly because it is cross platform and no matter what kind of system I’m on, it’s the same.

  • Haeriz

    I am using Winmount as i bought it.

  • Abracontrol

    For me 7zip it´s the best and it´s free, the single con is his ugly gui but I always change icons and program theme with 7ztm -7zip theme manager-

  • schizovivek

    Not sure many ppl are aware of this utility but used to use WinAce (hope i got the name right) once upon a time.
    The compression of it’s .ace files were kick ass. Dunno if it’s still available or not since I use 7zip just coz it’s free and very light! 😛

  • I like the built-in archiver. I don’t use third-party archiver anymore.

  • Lucky Tamil


  • bigdunit

    7zip for myself. but i have winrar also (nagware?) because many colleagues get confused if i send them .7z files

    • Ndct

      You can also compress files in ZIP with 7-Zip, you’re not limited to the 7z format.

  • UseFg

    WinRAR is good. The compressing though isn’t powerful as 7zip.
    7zip is good at compressing but the stable release didn’t get updated (for a while). Well the alpha is pretty decent 😉

  • SkiddMarxx

    I remember the day when Win-Zip ruled, I believe it was $29 for a lifetime license, then the company got sold and was going to charge for updates. Then went to winRAR and bought a license like a good boy should. After 7-Zip came out and starting getting good buzz, I haven’t looked back. 7-Zip is more than adequate for 99% of my needs, but I’ll fall back to winRAR for that 1%.

  • Tibi

    WinRAR, because is epic

  • EGF

    PeaZip because the others do not allow for use of a keyfile.

  • Thomas Buico

    I use WinMount for my windows machines. it handles zip, rar, and if you install it, 7zip…it also adds a new .mou archive for easy mounting. Besides just compressing and extracting archives, it also can mount the archive to virtual disks which comes in handy for ISO files. WinMount also has a nice GUI and very clean shell integration, this is by far my fave file archiver.

  • Karthik Chandraraj

    haozip is also good

  • Jacob

    “B1 Free Archiver” is my new favorite, its free too 🙂

  • nat

    WinRAR. Because it is cross-platform. 7-Zip is only for Windows and WinZip is not for Linux. WinRAR is for Mac, Linux, and even FreeBSD.

  • Guest

    PeaZip for me.

  • For all fans of Star Wars 🙂

  • Pepe Gonzalez

    your site fucking blows

  • Pepe Gonzalez

    fuck you

  • Pepe Gonzalez

    and your mum