Best Zip Software for Windows (File Compression)

It is vital to use good software to compress files and data. Here are some of the best zip software for file compression in Windows.

To group several files and folders, you can place them in a folder. Alternatively, you can also zip them into a single file. Zipping files has the additional benefit of easy sharing and archiving. For example, when trying to share multiple files at once over an email or a cloud service like OneDrive, you can zip them into a single file and then share it. That way, the recipient only has to download a single file and then use zip software to open it.

The good thing is, while zipping, you can even compress files to reduce the overall occupied storage space. Remember that when you compress files with zip software, it doesn’t reduce the quality or change the data. It uses a special algorithm to reduce the space occupied by the files. On extracting a zip file, all files will be original and intact. For instance, if you have a ton of photos, you can create a zip file with a compression setting to reduce the overall size of the zip file. When you extract the zip file in the future, the photos will not be altered in any way.

Some of the best zip software for Windows even gives you the option to encrypt and password-protect zip files with just a few clicks. Zip password-protection gives you the additional benefit of privacy and security. It is almost impossible to decrypt or unlock a password-protected zip file without the password.

As with most things, Windows has a ton of software for zip compression. This article aims to select the best zip compression software for Windows to get you started with ease. So, without ado, let us see what those compression software are.

Best zip software for Windows PC

Below are some of the best file compression and zip software for Windows. Each software listed in this article has its pros, cons, and interesting features that you need to know. As such, they are detailed in their respective section. So, please scroll down to learn more about each zip software, how it works for you, and whether it is suitable for your use case.

  1. Built-in zip feature in File Explorer
  2. 7-Zip
  3. WinRAR
  4. WinZip
  5. Bandizip
  6. Express Zip
  7. PowerArchiver
  8. PeaZip

1. Built-in zip feature in File Explorer

Though most don’t know, Windows File Explorer has natively supported creating and opening zip files directly for a long time now. Unlike the third-party applications, File Explorer’s zip functionality doesn’t provide additional or advanced features. For example, you cannot select how much compression to apply, encrypt or password the zip file, choose compression method, don’t support other compression formats, etc. As long as your need is simple, that is, create or extract a zip file, the File Explorer will do the zip.

To create a zip file in File Explorer, right-click on the folder or files and select the “Compress to ZIP file” or “Send to > Compressed ZIP file” option. The File Explorer will compress the files and create a ZIP archive as soon as you do that. Once done, you will see the new zip file in the same directory as the source folder. Depending on the number of files, the ZIP archive creation will take some time.

To open a zip file in File Explorer, find the “.zip” file and double-click on it. After opening, you can extract the contents as needed. If the contents in the zip are password-protected, the File Explorer will prompt for a password.

Price: N/A

Pros:

  • Built-in functionality in File Explorer
  • Easy to use
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Ability add or remove files from a zip archive
  • Can extract password-protected zip files

Cons:

  • Only basic functionality
  • Only supports .zip format
  • It doesn’t support encryption
  • It doesn’t support archive formats
  • Cannot select compression levels
  • No way to configure zip settings

2. 7-Zip

7-Zip — Best zip software for windows

Personally, 7-Zip is one of the best zip software for Windows. 7-Zip is free and open-source software. It supports many advanced features and integrates well with the Windows operating system. In fact, compared to other zip software, 7-Zip is much faster at compression and decompression in my experience. What’s more, it gives a ton of options to customize the zip archive and its creation process fully. For example, you can choose the archive format, compression method, compression level, whether to password protect or not, dictionary size, update mode, etc.

Of all the available features, one of the best 7-Zip features is splitting an archive into volumes. As you can guess, this feature is a godsend when sharing large archives because it makes uploading and downloading much more manageable. Additionally, you can test the archive for data integrity with just a single click after creating a zip archive. That way, you can be sure that there are no errors.

7-Zip supports almost all major and obscure archive formats out there when it comes to compatibility with other archive formats. However, 7-Zip can only create archives in a handful of known formats like 7z, Zip, tar, & vim; it supports opening archives in several formats.

The 7-Zip user interface is not the shiniest compared to other zip software, but it gets the job. In fact, if you open the 7-Zip file manager, you will see that it resembles the old and dated Windows software look. That being said, don’t be fooled by the outdated user interface. It has all the options you need front and center and makes it easy to manage the archive.

Price: Free.

Pros:

  • Free and open-source
  • Supports multiple archive formats
  • Supports various compression methods and levels
  • Ability to split the zip archive while creating
  • Supports several archive formats out of the box.
  • Ability to encrypt and password-protect
  • Option to choose an encryption algorithm
  • Test archive for data integrity
  • Ability to set the update mode

Cons:

  • Outdated user interface
  • Only supports a handful of archive formats for creating archives

Download 7-Zip: https://www.7-zip.org/download.html

3. WinRAR

WinRAR

For a long time now, WinRAR has been one of the most popular zip compression software for Windows. Even though WinRAR is a premium software, millions use it every day to create and open compressed archive files. If you have downloaded archive files long enough, you might have encountered the .rar archive format. As you can guess, the .rar is the default archive format when using WinRAR.

Though the default archive format is .rar, WinRAR supports creating archives in a couple of other formats like RAR4 and ZIP. Of course, when it comes to opening and unpacking an archive, WinRAR supports almost all archive formats out there. These formats include but are not limited to 7z, TAR, UUE, ARJ, BZIP2, JAR, LHA, RAR, CAB, GZ, ISO, XZ, Z, ZIP, ZIPX, etc.

Other useful features in WinRAR include but are not limited to fast compression and decompression of archive files, profiles, ability to select compression method and update mode, additional archiving options, ability to encrypt and password-protect archive files, split archives, support for NTFS options, recovery record, ability to add comments to the archive, etc.

Of all the features, one of the best things about the WinRAR archive is its user interface. Though the UI is pretty classic, it looks good while giving you all the options to manage the archive better. Even the archive creation wizard is neatly organized into tabs. This makes the whole experience that much better.

At least for some, the only downside is that it is paid software. That being said, you can evaluate WinRAR for 40 days for free. Even after the 40 days mark, you can keep using WinRAR indefinitely, just like Windows. You just need to dismiss the upgrade every time you open the WinRAR application. If you are wondering, yes, it is a built-in feature.

All in all, if you are looking for a well-rounded zip software for Windows operating system and don’t mind paying for it or dismissing the upgrade prompt occasionally, WinRAR is for you.

Price: $29 with a free 40-day evaluation period. You can keep using WinRAR will all features even after the 40-day trial period.

Pros:

  • Simple and easy user interface.
  • Used by millions for creating and opening archives
  • Support for slipt archives
  • Supports encryption and password protection.
  • Ability to set the update mode
  • Supports opening and unpacking all major archive formats
  • Integrates well with Windows
  • Has NTFS options
  • Ability to add comments to archives
  • Can create custom profiles for different workflows
  • Repair and convert archives
  • Test archives
  • UI theming support

Cons:

  • Premium only product
  • Nags with upgrade prompt if you don’t buy after 40-days
  • It only supports three formats for creating archives

Download WinRAR: https://www.win-rar.com/download.html

4. WinZip

WinZip

After WinRAR, WinZip is another popular zip software for Windows. Like 7-ZIP or WinRAR, WinZip has almost everything you need. As with most zip software for Windows, WinZip supports nearly all major archive formats, including .zip and .rar. It can create archives in ZIP, ZIPX, and LHA formats, open archives in any major format, encrypt and password protection archives, and more.

Besides the standard archive features like splitting, encrypting, update mode, etc., WinZip also has several useful and exciting features. These features include but are not limited to the ability to create backup files, useful PDF tools, act as a complete Windows file manager, gives you the tools and options to clean old and unnecessary files, built-in FTP support, ability to write to CD/DVD, lets you share zip files, supports batch conversion, a built-in image manager, extended filtering options, and more.

When it comes to the user interface, WinZip follows a combination of the old Windows 8’s and 10’s Ribbon style. Though the UI looks modern, it is pretty clunky and will take some time to get used to. This is especially true with all the features packed into WinZip.

That being said, if you are looking for a zip software that goes over and above to give additions tools, then WinZip is for you. Not to mention, even with all the additional features, WinZip is pretty lightweight and easy to use.

Price: $29.95 with a 21-day evaluation period.

Pros:

  • Supports slipping archives
  • Ability to backup files
  • Cleaning tools to save space
  • Built-in PDF tools
  • Ability to upload files using FTP
  • Batch conversion
  • Support for all major archives
  • Image manager
  • Support for archive encryption and password protection
  • Lightweight and easy to use

Cons:

  • Premium only product
  • Clunky UI design
  • If you are looking for a simple zip software, WinZip has a lot of unnecessary tools
  • Confusing licenses and product tiers

Download WinZip: https://www.winzip.com/en/download/winzip/

5. Bandizip

Bandizip

Bandizip is easy to use and freemium zip software for Windows. It makes creating and opening archive files easy. It has all the essential features of a good zip software. Out of the box, Bandizip supports creating archives in zip, zipx, exe, tar, tgz, lzh, iso, 7z, gz, and xz formats. As for opening the archives, it supports almost all major archive formats.

While creating archives, you can set a password, set an encryption algorithm, choose the compression level, whether you want to split files, compression method, and how much CPU it can use while creating the archive. In addition to that, Bandizip also supports adding comments to the archive, just like WinRAR.

Unlike WinZip, Bandizip is only made to open, create, and manage archive files. As such, it is pretty lightweight when it comes to using system resources. As for the user interface, it is pretty straightforward. It doesn’t confuse you with unnecessary or hidden options, making it easy to use.

Being a freemium product, not all features are available for free. For example, advanced features like repair archives, automated anti-malware scanning, image previews, password recovery, password manager, etc., are only available to paid users. That being said, all the essential features you need to create, open, and manage archives are available for free. In general, the free version is excellent for most users. You only need to pay if you want to use the additional bells and whistles.

Price: Available for free with locked premium features. You can upgrade to the Professional edition for $30.

Pros:

  • Lightweight on system resources
  • Supports creating archives files in over ten different formats
  • Ability to split archive files
  • Supports encryption and password protection.
  • Ability to comment in archive files
  • Image previews in archives
  • Archive password recovery tool
  • Anti-malware scanning
  • Repair archive
  • Ability to choose the compression level and method
  • Easy to use with straightforward user interface

Cons:

  • Some essential features like anti-malware scanning and password recovery are only available to paid users
  • Compared to other popular zip software like WinRAR, the compression and decompression are a tad bit slower. Not by much, though.

Download Bandizip: https://en.bandisoft.com/bandizip/

6. Express Zip

Express Zip — Best file compression software for Windows

Express Zip is another lightweight zip software for the Windows operating system. It is premium software with all the essential features you will ever need. In addition to the standard archiving options like splitting, encrypting, etc., the software also has additional bells and whists like the ability to upload files to the cloud, burn disks, repair archives, convert archives from one format to another, add files and folders to archives, and more.

Express Zip supports opening archive files in almost all major formats. However, you can only create .zip archives. For example, you cannot create.7z or .tar format archive files. That being said, in a vast majority of cases, you don’t need anything other than the .zip format. So, it is not a big deal.

What makes Express Zip is its user interface. Though the user interface is a bit traditional, it puts all features and options front and center in an organized way. This makes it easy to find and use the options you want. For example, to convert an archive go to the Tools tab and select the archive format from the Convert dropdown menu. The same is valid for choosing the output folder, whether to overwrite files or not, etc. You don’t have to go through a dozen menus to find an option.

That being said, the UI may require you to spend some time with it to get the most out of it. This is especially true for beginner users.

Price: Express Zip is a premium software and costs $25 and $30 for Home and Commercial licenses, respectively.

Pros:

  • Straightforward and organized user interface
  • Lightweight on system resources
  • Supports opening archives of all major formats
  • Fast and efficient compress and decompression
  • Encrypt and password-protect archives
  • Additional compression settings
  • Repair archives
  • Support for splitting archives
  • Ability to upload files to the cloud
  • Burn to CD/DVD
  • Convert archives

Cons:

  • Premium only product
  • Only creates archives in .zip format
  • There is some learning curve to the UI
  • Not as feature-rich as WinRAR or WinZip

Download Express Zip: https://www.nchsoftware.com/zip/index.html

7. PowerArchiver

PowerArchiver

As the name says, PowerArchiver is a powerful software for all your archiving needs and has a whole bunch of other bells and whistles. Like other file compression software for Windows, PowerArchiver can create and open a zip file with just a couple clicks. One of the best things about PowerArchiver is that it is pretty fast for compression or decompression. That means, if you have a lot of files, you can compress them as much as possible in the shortest possible time and use fewer system resources.

PowerArchiver supports creating compressed archives in zip, cab, lha, bh, tar, wim, and zpaq formats. As for opening, PowerArchiver supports most archive formats.

Useful features of PowerArchiver include but are not limited to full support for ZIPX format, ability to encrypt the zip file, multiple archive formats, ability to set update mode, compression method, compression level, split and merge, etc.

As I said earlier, PowerArchiver has several other bells and whistles. These include secure FTP, virtual ISO drive to mount ISOs, built-in backup functionality, dedicated plugins for Office, support for cloud services, etc. As good as these features are, they only available in Professional and Toolbox versions.

The user interface of PowerArchiver is also pretty familiar, thanks to the Ribbon style. However, it is not that easy to use or intuitive to understand. This is especially true for beginners. However, you seldom have to open the PowerArchiver application because most things can be done directly from the File Explorer context menu.

All in all, if you are looking for a powerful zip software for Windows that has additional tools and functionality, then give PowerArchiver a try.

Price: PowerArchiver is premium software that costs $22.95, $34.95, and $49.95 for Standard, Professional, and Toolbox versions, respectively.

Pros:

  • Support for encryption
  • Ability to create archives in multiple formats
  • Familiar user interface with Ribbon menu
  • Specific compression codecs for different file formats for faster and efficient compression
  • Ability to create compression profiles
  • File duplication filter to find duplicated data and files
  • Can act as a File Explorer replacement
  • Additional portable version
  • Image previews
  • Support for archive conversion
  • Batch ZIP tool
  • Support for multi-extraction

Cons:

  • The user interface is outdated and has a learning curve
  • The options placement and naming can sometimes be confusing for beginner users

Download PowerArchiver: https://www.powerarchiver.com/powerarchiver/

8. PeaZip

PeaZip

PeaZip is a free and open-source application for creating and opening zip files in the Windows operating system. One of the best things about PeaZip is that it is based on other open-source technologies like p7zip, 7-Zip, FreeArc, etc. It supports over 200 archive formats and can create archives in over ten formats. Additionally, the compression and extraction of an archive are pretty fast while being light on system resource usage.

Though PeaZip looks simple, it can be a complete File Explorer replacement. That means you can view, browse, edit, and search files. In addition to that, PeaZip has all the standard features of a good zip software. i.e., it supports encryption, splitting and merging archives, file hashing, archive conversion, update modes, etc.

Besides the standard features, it has other useful features and tools like a built-in password manager for archives, optional support for two-factor authentication, secure delete, multiple encryption algorithms, etc.

Most of all, the user interface closely resembles the File Explorer and puts all the essential options front and center. This makes PeaZip easy to use. PeaZip is a pretty good choice if you are looking for a free and open-source alternative to 7-Zip. Give it a try and see if it works for you.

Price: Free and open-source

Pros:

  • Supports archive encryption with multiple algorithms
  • Secure delete
  • Password manager
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Split and merge archives
  • Support for over 200 archive formats
  • Cross-platform support
  • Portable version
  • Fast and high compression of files
  • Easy to use user interface
  • Preconfigured profiles

Cons:

  • Cannot create custom profiles
  • Cannot preview files
  • No comment support when creating archives

Download PeaZip: https://peazip.github.io/

That is all. These are some of the best file compression and zip software for the Windows operating system. If you think I missed any other software, comment below and share it with me.

I hope this small list helps you find the best zip software.

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