The file archiving technology that originally came in ZIP extension was founded in 1989 by PKWARE and is still widely being used today. The good thing about using archive is you get to compress multiple files into one and also reducing the file size. This will allow anyone to easily transfer multiple files by sending only 1 file and also saving both time and bandwidth since the file size is smaller after compression. Today there are other archive formats such as RAR, 7z, ACE, CAB, GZIP, TAR and etc but the archive format that is being used widely is still ZIP. Even Windows started to natively support opening and extracting ZIP files since XP without using a third party software.
You probably don’t need a third party archiver software if you only extract ZIP files. However if you need to create ZIP files by compressing multiple files into one, then there are more than 10 different software to do the job. Every software archiver comes with its own special features but in the end the most important thing is still the speed when compress or extract an archive file and the output size of the compressed file. Most of them claim to be the fastest with the best compression rate but you will never know who is telling the truth until you’ve put all of them to the test. Fortunately we’ve put 15 file archiver software to the test to see who has the best compression rate plus the fastest speed.
To test the file archivers, we compressed three different file formats which is one AVI file at 1.95GB, 100 EXE files at 217MB, 800 TXT files at 70.1MB, extracting a 1.93GB ZIP archive, and finally try to open the Firefox omni.ja file which is actually a valid JAR file that is supported by most archivers except optimized where some picky archivers will think that it is corrupted.
The following file archiver software are being tested in search for the best archiver with fastest compressing/extracting speed and smallest in output file.
4. HAMSTER Free ZIP Archiver
After hours of testing the file archivers, the results are compiled in a table. The results that are highlight in yellow is what you want which is either the fastest or smallest in size. You can click on the image below to open a larger version of the image.
ZipGenius and PowerZIP did not make it to the list because ZipGenius is crashing the Explorer.exe process whenever I use the right click context menu and PowerZIP right click context menu did not work at all.
I would say that the popular 7-Zip did above average but definitely not the best. I would highly recommend Bandizip for the freeware version of file archiver and if you’re willing to spend money to purchase the shareware version of file archiver, it would be either WinRAR or PowerArchiver.