Do you have heavy files on your computer and don’t know how to transfer them to other people because of the size? Or are you concerned about the space these files consume on your system?
One of the ways we solve this problem is by using file archivers that can compress, encrypt and arrange data in an archive file for easy access.
WinZip vs 7-Zip
WinZip and 7-Zip are two of the most popularly used file archivers today. They both have tons of features, but which of them will best suit your needs?
Read along as we compare both software.
File Compression Ratio
The data compression ratio is the difference between the compressed and original file sizes.
For example, if the original size is 10 Mb and compressed to 2 Mb. Then its compression ratio is 5 (that is 10/2 = 5). This compression ratio can also be written as 20%.
Both WinZip and 7Zip are impressive when compressing files, but which has a better compression ratio?
When we tested both file archivers with an MP4 file of 10GB, WinZip had a file compression ratio of 41%, while 7-Zip had a file compression ratio of 45%.
The results show that WinZip reduced 10GB to about 4GB while 7-Zip reduced that same file to about 4.5 GB.
However, it is essential to note that the type of file you are trying to convert will affect the compression rate of the software.
For example, 7-Zip had a 40-43% compression ratio for an ISO file of about 10GB, while WinZip had a compression ratio of 34% for the same file.
Overall, no matter the type of file you are compressing, WinZip is slightly better than 7-Zip for file compression.
Note: An ISO file is a file that contains all the data needed to install a computer program.
Although WinZip wins the battle for compression ratio, it is not exactly a speedster when compressing files. 7-Zip is the fastest compressing software available, although it beats WinZip in seconds.
Support Format And Compatibility
WinZip and 7-Zip compress their files into different formats. WinZip compresses files mainly into ZIP and ZIPX, while 7-Zip converts files into 7z.
These compressed formats differ in how they are compatible or supported by various operating systems.
7z, the default format of 7-Zip compressed files, is supported extensively by nearly all Microsoft operating systems from Windows 10 to Vista.
However, it is not supported by other operating systems outside Windows. If you use a non-windows operating system (such as an IOS), you would have to download and install compatible software before being able to unzip 7z files.
On the other hand, WinZip can work on Windows operating systems and other operating systems such as macOS, IOS, and Android.
However, the version of Windows and IOS it can work on is limited. While 7-Zip can work on almost every Windows OS, WinZip only works on Windows 10, 8, 7, and Vista.
In addition, only the macOS 10.8 and other higher versions are compatible with WinZip. Still, because of its versatility, WinZip wins this round as well.
File Archiving Method
One of the functions of software like WinZip and 7-Zip is their ability to collect multiple data files into a single file for easier storage and portability. This process is called file archiving.
File archiving involves compressing the file and encrypting it to preserve the quality of the data and every piece of information. The file also has to be easily unzipped.
File archivers that can do this are often called lossless archivers. So how do WinZip and 7-Zip perform in their file archiving duties?
WinZip archives its files predominantly into ZIP and ZIPX, both ZIP and ZIPX files are compressed using multiple algorithms, but the most common is called DEFLATE.
DEFLATE coding ensures that ZIP and ZIPX files are lossless. They do not lose quality or data when they are being compressed.
The same is true for 7z. Unlike its counterpart, 7z files use a compressing algorithm known as LZMA, which also supports lossless compression. LZMA is also the reason behind 7-Zip’s faster compression speed.
So you get to keep your complete data and data quality with 7-Zip. Since they both support lossless compression, this round ends in a tie.
Note: Some file formats such as Avi, MP3, or PNG are already pre-compressed versions of images and sounds.
In most cases, you cannot compress these files further to a great degree. To save time while archiving such files, choose “None” or “No Compression” on the archiving software you are using.
Licensing and Cost
WinZip has a free trial version that lasts for 30 days. You do not need to register or even input your credit card details when using the free version.
However, after the free trial, you will need to create an account and buy a licensed copy of the software. Each licensed copy is issued based on the number of computers you wish to use.
Fortunately, you only need a one-time payment ranging from $29.95 – $99.95, depending on the package you are ordering.
In addition, you can also opt for an Upgrade assurance subscription which costs about $7.99 per year. Multiple or concurrent uses that are not stated in the license is discouraged.
On the other hand, 7-Zip is free software with an open-source license, although some parts of its code may have an UnRAR license restriction.
It can be used commercially on one or more computers concurrently. You do not need to register or pay for the use of the software.
So when it comes to cost, 7-Zip wins the round.
WinZip and 7-Zip are both fantastic file compression software. However, from the comparison above, WinZip does a better job of compressing and protecting files and being more compatible with devices.
Although 7-Zip remains the best free file compression software, WinZip performs much more functions and is worth its price.