WinZip and WinRAR are classic file managers for compressed archives; however, over the years, these programs have become more commercial and less useful (feel free to disagree — I don’t feel that strongly about it.) In this guide, you’ll learn about three alternatives to WinZip and WinRAR: 7-Zip, PeaZip, and TUGZip.
Zip Tool Alternatives
7-Zip is my compressed-file manager of choice with the following features:
- High compression ratio in new 7z format with LZMA compression
- Supported formats:
- Packing / unpacking: 7z, ZIP, GZIP, BZIP2 and TAR
- Unpacking only: ARJ, CAB, CHM, CPIO, DEB, DMG, HFS, ISO, LZH, LZMA, MSI, NSIS, RAR, RPM, UDF, WIM, XAR and Z.
- For ZIP and GZIP formats, 7-Zip provides a compression ratio that is 2-10 % better than the ratio provided by PKZip and WinZip
- Strong AES-256 encryption in 7z and ZIP formats
- Self-extracting capability for 7z format
- Integration with Windows Shell
- Powerful File Manager
- Powerful command line version
- Plugin for FAR Manager
- Localizations for 74 languages
You can compress files in many different formats, add passwords, and more.
7-Zip has a clean interface and is easy to use.
PeaZip is also popular and comes with the following features:
- create 7Z, ARC, BZ2, GZ, PAQ/LPAQ, PEA, QUAD/BALZ, TAR, UPX, ZIP
- extract 87 archive types: ACE, ARJ, CAB, DMG, ISO, LHA, RAR, UDF and many more…
- discover main features of PeaZip >>
I find the install of PeaZip a little overwhelming with lots of questions that I didn’t really care to answer:
PeaZip has a clean interface:
PeaZip, like 7-Zip and unlike TUGZip, lets you browse .ISO files — which is really useful for me.
TUGZip is the least popular of the other two programs; however, it comes packed with the following features:
- Supports ZIP, 7-ZIP, A, ACE, ARC, ARJ, BH, BZ2, CAB, CPIO, DEB, GCA, GZ, IMP, JAR, LHA (LZH), LIB, RAR, RPM, SQX, TAR, TGZ, TBZ, TAZ, YZ1 and ZOO archives.
- Supports BIN, C2D, IMG, ISO and NRG disc-images.
- Support for external plugins.
- Windows® shell integration, for example drag & drop, shell context menu and drop handlers.
- Create 7-ZIP, BH, BZ2, CAB, JAR, LHA (LZH), SQX, TAR, TGZ, YZ1 and ZIP archives.
- Script support which allows you to make automated backups.
- Basic features like: add, extract, delete, rename, run, view, checkout, install, test, comment, SFX, virus-scanning, disk-spanning and much more.
- Repair corrupted ZIP and SQX archives.
- Can extract multiple archives at once using Multi Extract.
- Encrypt archives using 6 different algorithms. Blowfish (128-bit), DES (56-bit), Triple DES (168-bit) and Rijndael (128-bit, 192-bit and
- Create self-extracting encrypted archives.
- Automatic updates using the “Web Update” function.
TUGZip lets you pick the interface style; I recommend Explorer view-style
I chose to Enable 32-bit alpha blended icons; however, I don’t feel this is the most important thing to ask a user when installing a program.
The file browser is simple and clean; however, you can’t open .ISO files.
I usually try and recommend the best program, but in this case, I want you to decide. After using PeaZip and TUGZip exclusively for a week each, I decided to go back to 7-Zip. Which program do you use? Why do you use it? Let us know in the comments.