Compressed files are very useful in our day to day. Thanks to them we can group several files into a single file so that it is much easier to share it with other people over the Internet. In addition, it is also possible to reduce its size so that it is sent earlier, and even encrypt it and protect it with a password so that other people cannot get to see the contents of the file in case it falls into bad hands.
WinRAR is one of the most well-known and used file compressors in Windows. This file compressor is well known primarily for being paid, but offering its users a 40-day trial version that never ends. So anyone can use WinRAR for free and legal without paying.
However, there are many other file compressors and decompressors, alternatives to WinRAR, that we can install on our computer. And today we are going to compare two of the best OpenSource options that we can find: PeaZip and 7-Zip.
7-Zip: the 7z format promoter
7-Zip is a totally free, open source and cross-platform file compressor. Although it is not one of the most used (although other compressors based on it are used), it is very important in this field of programs. This file compressor is the promoter of the 7Z format, which, together with the LZMA and PPMD compression methods, achieves higher file compression rates, better performance and faster speeds than other formats such as ZIP or RAR.
Some of its main features are:
- Official support for the 7z format.
- Compress files between 30% and 70% more than other formats.
- It offers a self-extracting system for the 7z format.
- It is integrated into the Windows file explorer.
- Compatible with drag & drop.
- It can be used from the command line.
- Totally free and open source.
- Translated into 87 languages, including Spanish.
This file compressor allows you to decompress files from virtually any compressed file format, but for licensing reasons it can only compress to the following formats: 7z, ZIP, GZIP, BZIP2, TAR, WIM and XZ.
If we want to try 7-Zip, we can download it from the following link .
PeaZip: a front-end for other programs (including 7-Zip)
Another of the most popular file compressors that we can find on the net is PeaZip. This file compressor is also completely free and open source for all users. Among its main features we can highlight the support for PEA, its own native file format with compression, multi-volume, advanced file encryption and integrity control. One of the most advanced and unknown file formats at the same time.
This program acts as a front-end (an interface) for many other useful programs for file management. Among them, 7-Zip and FreeArc. Like 7-Zip, PeaZip is compatible with virtually any file format for reading and decompressing, but it can only compress to its own format, PEA, in addition to other file formats with free licenses, such as:
- 7z / 7z-SFX
- ARC / WRC
- BZip2 / TBZ
- GZip / TGZ
- LPAQ1 / 5/8
- PAQ8F / JD / L / O
- QUAD / BALZ
- split (.001)
We can download PeaZip from the following link .
PeaZip vs 7-Zip, what does each compressor offer us?
Most likely, both file compressors can meet the needs that any home user may have when working with compressed files in our day to day. However, after comparing each of them we will surely find differences and characteristics that will make us opt for one or the other.
Interface appearance and customization
One of the weak points of 7-Zip has always been its interface. At least the one that comes by default when we install the program on our computer. For example, the 7-Zip interface seems a bit simpler than PeaZip’s, while that of this alternative is more careful and more colorful.
Of course, both file compressors have a “see” menu that allow us to customize various aspects of the program interface.
For example, in the case of 7-Zip we can customize several aspects of its interface. We can change the size of the icons, choose the date and time format of the files and even enable two panels at the same time.
In the case of PeaZip, we can mainly customize the toolbars of the program in order to always have on hand what interests us most. And also adjust the size of the icons.
In addition to the options of opening compressed files and creating new files, these two programs come with a series of additional tools that can help us perform certain tasks more easily.
For example, in the case of 7-Zip we will find a tool that will allow us to benchmark our equipment, being able to measure the performance and stability of our PC.
In the case of PeaZip, we can find many more tools that will help us make working with this file compressor more convenient. For example, in addition to a tool to measure PC performance, we will find a complete password manager with functions to generate secure keys, a task automation system using scripts and PeaUtil, a set of tools to control our files.
Without a doubt, PeaZip offers a range of possibilities infinitely larger than 7-Zip.
Opening compressed files
Another very important point that we must keep in mind is how both programs allow us to work with compressed files.
Starting from a file, we open it with PeaZip and we can see the main interface of the program. As we can see, all the files inside the compressed file appear, being able to work with all the files individually.
We can see information about the files we have within our compressed file, add new files within the original file and adjust the view as we like to be comfortable when opening this type of files in Windows.
We will also be able to open any individual file by double clicking on it, and dragging its contents thanks to its drag & drop function.
In the case of 7-Zip, at the level of working with files we will be able to do it the same, but in a somewhat simpler way and with less detail, especially aesthetics. We can see all the files and folders inside the original file, add new files to the program and work with the files we want.
With 7-Zip we can also open compressed files by double clicking on them, and unzipping them to the folder we want through its Drag & Drop function. In addition, this function gives much less problems than PeaZip, which depending on some file systems may not allow us to correctly extract the files to other folders.
Create new compressed files
In addition to being able to open and unzip files, another of the functions of file compressors is the possibility of creating new compressed files. And, of course, both 7-Zip and PeaZip make it very easy.
PeaZip is a program much easier to use and intuitive than 7-Zip, and one more example of that is the wizard to create a new compressed file.
As we can see, the assistant is really easy to understand. At the top we can see a list with all the files and folders that we are going to add to the archive. And it also allows us to add new files by drag and drop.
We can choose the format to which we want to compress the files, the type of compression and other parameters, such as compressing each file individually, deleting the originals and even applying encryption.
7-Zip, on the other hand, offers us many more options when compressing files, but sacrifices usability (for example, we cannot add new files by drag and drop to the wizard).
As we can see, we can customize all the details about the interface and the compression parameters of the files. It also offers us the possibility of controlling computer performance and greater control over encryption options.
PeaZip or 7-Zip: which one to choose
Of course, 7-Zip and PeaZip are, in broad strokes, very similar applications . Basically because the second one is based on the first one, offering, of course, a much more complete set of tools and a nicer frontend.
Let’s use the compressor we use, we won’t have any problems. Both programs are compatible with all the formats that we can use on a daily basis (although PeaZip does have support for other rarer formats), and the compression ratios are the same when both share the same engine.
The 7-Zip interface is uglier. Its developer is responsible for updating and maintaining the 7Z compression engine, but rather neglects the interface. However, in exchange for this this program is faster and consumes less resources. In addition, it offers more advanced options when creating a new archive.
However, if we want a program with a greater number of tools and, above all, with a more modern and beautiful interface, then we must choose PeaZip.
Of course, both file compressors are completely free and available for Windows, macOS and even Linux, so our operating system will not be a compelling reason when choosing one or the other.