7-Zip VS WinRAR | 2021 | Which is Better?

We seek many options when it comes to file compression these days, but most of us reach out to either 7zip or Winrar to do the compression for us.

These guys do the job reasonably well, which is why they have been mostly used apps among file compressors, but there might be a slight doubt for us as to which is better than the other.

So let’s find out by exhaustively analyzing the performance and ease of use of both of these softwares.

What is File Compression and Why do you Need it??

Most types of computer files we download or save are highly trivial in terms of data, as they have repeated information that is seen repeatedly. File compression solves this problem by means of removing the extra data but keeping the essence still there.

Some of the use cases of File Compression are as follows:

  1. So you have 50 High-res images that you want to send to someone over an email. Now, most email providers like Gmail, Outlook, etc., will only let you upload less than 25MB of combined file size. If you exceed the limit, you can easily compress the files into a Zip or a RAR format file, which will drastically reduce the size without hampering the quality.
  2. In general, if you want to save some space on your computer and have files that are essential to you, these are not files you need very frequently. What you can do is, you can compress these files using either of 7-Zip or WinRAR and keep them safe while saving some local storage.
  3. You have some files to which you don’t want some people to have access, and you can also compress these files and set a password that will make it possible only for you to unzip or extract these files.

These were some of the everyday use cases of compressing files, and there is still a lot more usage of file compression. Read on as we compare 7zip and WinRAR.

Archiving VS Compressing

When you create a computer file that is merged two or more other computer files and adds metadata, you will have an archive file. These files are easily portable and more efficient to store in devices. This is different from compression because there is no need for extraction after archiving.

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7-Zip comes inbuilt with Windows, and it’s a much better option than the built-in compression tool that comes along with Microsoft’s Windows OS. There are more features in 7-Zip, including the ability for archive repairs. Since it was published by Free Software Foundation.

Repetitional image for 7zip software

It can be freely shared with others under the terms listed in the GNU Lesser General Public License. Ukrainian freelance programmer Igor Pavlov currently has ownership over the 7-Zip Copyright (C) and released its beta version way back in January 1999.

The compression speeds aren’t that fast, but it offers an impressive compression ratio with a 7Z format. There’s even encryption and password protection to top it all off. 

7-Zip is also available globally and supports more than 87 languages for users.

How to extract files using 7 Zip

Now for the newbies out there, who are seeing this software for the first time, let us give a quick rundown of the steps, shall we?

Step 1. Select the zip file that you want to extract with a quick right-click.

Step 2. Tap on the 7Zip row to view the available option, and choose extract.

Step 3. Choose the destination you want it to be extracted from, but it generally can be found in the same folder where the zipped file is located. Voila, you are done.

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WinRAR is a household name for many Windows users ( Me included ). It was developed by Eugene Roshal, a Russian software engineer. Although it was released way back in 1995, it got popular only after the early 2000s due to the Internet Boom.

Repetitional image for Winrar software

WinRAR gives you the option for creating archives in either RAR or ZIP file formats, as well as the ability to extract and unpack a range of archive file formats.

It also supports encryption, self-extraction, and multipartion in archives. It is primarily meant for users who need archiving and compression capabilities beyond what Windows is capable of.

Its ability to split archives over multiple volumes is unparalleled. It has got a good deal of fame in some geek circles, such as systems administrators and users who need to email large files, which can be split into smaller formats.

This software has ended up garnering over 500 million users currently, making it by far the most used compression tool globally. WinRAR even has 32-bit and 64-bit editions and is supported in over 50 languages.

Oh, I forgot to tell you that this is trialware, a class of products that includes a free trial period to look through the software. They can decide to avail it in the long term.

But don’t worry, although the trial period is for 40 days, some of the features can be used freely even after the 40 days trial period!

WinRAR is essentially free, except that you will receive a notification that the trial period has expired from time to time. Basically, you are paying to get rid of this annoying pop-up.

winrar subscription reminder window

And for the readers who are seriously thinking of buying the paid version, let us give you a heads-up by giving you the price and details based on user count. WinRAR runs from $21 per user (for 2-9 users), reducing to $6 per user (for 500-999 users).

How to extract files using WinRAR?

I know this is clichéd, but we have to do this for the newcomers, so let’s get it over with simple steps-

Step 1. Click on the compressed file to view the WinRAR menu.

Step 2. When you get inside that, click the “Extract Here” option.

Step 3. It shall now extract the files inside the same folder as you found the original compressed files.

Step 4. You can track the progress bar until completion.

Step 5. Check the files in the destination folder after you are done.

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ZIP Archives Vs. RAR Archives

WinRAR can create archives in 2 formats, ZIP and RAR. Let’s have a comparison of the 2 formats.

ZIP archives

The main advantage of the ZIP format is it is more in use across the Internet. For example, most archives on the Web are ZIP archives. So if you are going to send an archive to somebody, but you are not sure that the person you send it to has WinRAR or 7zip to extract the contents, it might be a good idea to use the ZIP format.

Another advantage of ZIP archives is speed. ZIP archives are usually created faster than RAR.

RAR archives

Usually, the RAR format provides significantly better compression than ZIP.

 Another important RAR feature is its support of multi-volume archives. They are more convenient and easier to use. 

RAR format also has a few important features absent in ZIP, such as the recovery record for reconstructing damaged data and locking of important archives to prevent their accidental modification. RAR format can hold practically unlimited size (a whopping 8,589,934,591 GB !)

7-Zip VS WinRAR: Which is Better?

Now it’s time to give you what you came for. We will not make outrageous allegations about one being better than the other. Still, we will provide you with the stats and variations in performance in the softwares, which you can use to decide for yourself.

Overall Compression

7 Zip beats WinRAR in the case of compression speed, but in terms of quality, WinRAR wins by a mile. They also have the upper hand with the .rar file format.

But, 7 Zip being open-source gives it an advantage in case of software updates and performance tweaks for absolutely free.

File Formats

As per the new update, the archive format used by WinRAR is RAR5. This gives a bigger default dictionary size and is more powerful in compressing large files. The old compression format is RAR4, which was 10 times better than the .zip format, as the users say.

7Zip delivers a similar performance, but it comes free of charge, right out of the bat.

And it comes with a small, installable size of 1.5MB, is light on the system resources, and delivers the best compression size overall.

User Experience

The usability of the software plays a huge role in keeping the users hooked to it and kept coming more in. Using WinRAR is much easier. Still, the GUI(Graphic User Interface) and icons of 7-Zip seem funkier to users. So it is upto the reader to decide what they would prefer, as it stands relative to what we want to accomplish with the software.

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Final Take by Tecvalue

Hope you have understood what might appear to be subtle differences between the softwares and how they can be helpful to you. I am inclined to side with WinRAR on this one, probably because I am more familiar with it.

But then again, 7 Zip has also got more features that might appeal to more experienced users. All in All, It all depends on what you want to use the tools for.

Basim Parapathil

Basim likes to assert himself as the Chandler Bing of Technical writers, which is why you would find him struggling to blend sarcasm and technical stuff. It surprisingly gives out a humorous style targeting the younger spectra of the readers who go through his articles. Basim also dabbles in literature, which is evident in how he expresses (or even exaggerates !) some parts of his technical write-ups. He is also a Google and Microsoft certified Digital Marketer and seems to be well-versed in SEO realms. He is currently pursuing a B.Tech degree in Biotechnology and Biochemical Engineering in Sree Chitra Thirunal College of Engineering in Trivandrum, Kerala.

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