This post was most recently updated on May 16th, 2023
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What format do you use while compressing files? What about Zip, RAR, and 7z? We ran several tests to see which formats offer the best compression rates. Obviously, the compression ratio isn’t everything. Some of these formats are built right into desktop operating systems, while others necessitate additional downloads or plug-ins to open.
It’s not as simple as it seems at first glance. The amount of compression you achieve is a function of not just the archive type you create, but also the tool you use to compress it, and the parameters you employ. To keep things straightforward, we used widely used programs with their factory-default compression settings.
We decided to compress a few pre-installed PC games rather than tinker with more common file types like Microsoft Word DOCX documents (which already use a version of Zip compression) or JPG photos (which already use a form of compression). Video games are a useful real-world dataset since they contain a wide variety of file kinds (graphics, music, text files, executables, etc.).
To begin, we downloaded Bastion and compressed its folder, which had around 863 MB of items including music, images, executables, and papers of all types.
- 746 MB (86.4 percent of original) when compressed with Zip on Windows 8.1
- The compressed size is 745 MB (86.3%) when using WinZip.
- WinRAR archive size: 746 MB (86.4 percent compression).
- 7-Zip: 734 MB (85% of the original size)
- Hotline Miami, which was originally 654 MB in size, was then compressed:
- 316 MB (48.1 % reduction) when compressed with Zip on Windows 8.1.
- In WinZip (314 MB, or 48 percent of the original size) zip format.
- WinRAR archive size: 307 MB (46% compression).
- 7-Zip compressed size is 301 MB or 46% of the original.
Create self-extracting archives, encrypt your archived data, and safeguard it with a password to keep prying eyes away. Decompress archives saved in RAR, ZIP, and ARJ.
To build, arrange, and control compressed files, WinRAR serves as an archive manager. You can backup your data, compress or decompress files, and safeguard them from harm with the help of this program.
Only the RAR and ZIP file formats are supported for compression. But, it is possible to decompress CAB, ARJ, LZH, TAR, GZ, and TAR using the program. In addition to RAR and ZIP, we also support the following compressed file formats: GZ, BZ2, and TAR.BZ2, ACE, UUE, JAR (Java Archive), ISO (ISO9660 – CD image), 7Z, XZ, and Z (Unix compress). A maximum of 8,589 billion gigabytes of information can be stored. The WinRAR full version interface has wizards that help new users get started by asking them a few simple questions.
The software, which can be downloaded directly from the website and then styled to your liking, boasts an intuitive UI. The command line interface allows advanced users to carry out a wide range of operations. Archive files can be opened, tested, protected, encrypted, locked, scanned, converted, compared, and benchmarked.
You can define a compression profile for your archived files and inspect their contents with the built-in reader. In the event that your archives become corrupted, recovery tools allow you to undelete them. WinRAR download if you want to fast file shrink. Without a shadow of a doubt, WinRAR is the top choice for compressing files. Both first-time and seasoned users can take advantage of its extensive set of specialized functions. Anyone in need of a flexible file compression tool, as this one is, should definitely check it out.
Without a doubt, 7z is the most compressed format, and this comes as no surprise to us. Again and again, 7z has been found to be the most effective file compression tool. As a space-saving compression tool, 7z is your best bet. To conserve even more space, you can increase the compression settings, which will take longer to compress and decompress.
Zip and RAR were virtually identical in performance. For making Zip files, WinZip wasn’t any better than the built-in support in Windows. For the record, here’s what we suggest:
- Maximize your compression by using 7-Zip to make 7z archives.
- Making use of the Zip file creation tool built into your OS ensures the most possible compatibility and ease of use. On Windows, you can compress a group of files by selecting them in a file manager, right-clicking, and sending them to a compressed (zipped) folder.
The compression ratio is merely one of several variables that must be taken into account.
While ZPAQ and ARC are the most effective compressors, the decompression times for 7Z and RAR are the quickest of the formats evaluated.
- In terms of compression ratio, 7Z consistently outperformed RAR across all compression levels, but RAR was noticeably faster.
- The extraction times for both formats are comparable, remaining within a reasonable range across all compression settings.
Raising the compression level has a diminishing return on performance, hence it shouldn’t be used. Even if individual files are not compressible (in the traditional sense) taken by themselves, it is still possible to achieve the greatest compression ratio when numerous similar files are involved through the use of file spanning and data deduplication.