Very often, we need to either compress or decompress files for various functions like sending emails, accessing music, or just regular storage. The most popular tools that help you do these tasks are WinZip and WinRAR, both of which are hugely powerful. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t find amazing WinRAR alternatives.
As far as WinZip and WinRAR are concerned, these applications are used by millions around the world. However, both these tools are premium-priced with trial versions. Thankfully, the Internet has free alternatives to almost every software. And compression tools like WinRAR are no exceptions.
There are a number of tools on the Internet that will help you compress and decompress files for free. If you choose well, these tools will also help you choose the format of the file. Most of these are equipped with features already found in WinRAR. Some of these tools also promise to better the WinRAR feature set.
Not Just For Windows!
If you though the best free WinRAR alternatives are available for Windows PCs only, here’s some news. Free compression tools are available for PC, Mac, and even smartphones. All you need to find out is which one works well for you and which you can safely skip.
As you choose the best compression for your PC or mobile, you will need to be cautious too. There are quite a few spammy-looking tools whose sole purpose is to annoy you with a range of unwanted apps. Feel free to give the boot to these apps.
Best Free WinRAR Alternatives – Best 5 Picks!
Let’s quickly jump over and show you the best free WinRAR alternatives that you can get right now. While some of these are as good as (or even better) than WinRAR, others might come with a few limitations.
Option #1: 7-Zip
The first great and free alternative to WinRAR has to be 7-Zip. It is a free-to-use open source tool that has been custom-built for creating and opening archives. The #1 reason why many people around the world use this software is the high compression ratio. It gives you 10% better compression than the likes of WinRAR and WinZip.
If you are using the software to compress the folder to the 7z format, you get up to 70% of compression. Now, the 7z format is its proprietary software format that is made for easy compression. Moreover, the format is widely supported across a range of platforms and other software.
You can also unzip folders that are compressed in a variety of formats with 7-Zip. The software itself is as lightweight as it can be at 1MB. That means that it easily makes use of most of your system resources without importing a lot of outside material. However, 7-Zip lacks the ability to repair damaged archives.
Option #2: B1 Free Archiver
B1 Free Archiver is a great tool with a simple yet effective functionality. There is support for tons of formats that include b1, 7z, arj, rar, txz, jar, and more. The best thing is that there is support for both online and desktop tools. You may download the tools to decompress/compress files offline or do it online with the online archiver.
The online archiver is typically handy when you cannot download software on PC due to restrictions. While the software installation is free, you do get some unwanted adware along with it. You will have to make sure you uncheck all add-on installations before clicking Install.
Users have mixed feelings about the app interface. Some feel that it is a tad too basic while others do not like it all. On the whole, the interface is not the best out there. However, it is a great alternative for WinRAR as a free application.
Option #3: ExtractNow
ExtractNow is a totally free tool with a simple and intuitive interface. But it has one major drawback – it can only unpack files. However, it is still a great alternative if you want to extract numerous files with ease. You can simply drag and drop compressed files on the tool’s interface.
The interface of ExtractNow is clean, easy-to-use, and remarkably well-designed. You can make use of the drag-and-drop feature to extract files straight into the main window of the program. Alternatively, you can right-click the file in Windows Explorer and then extract with ExtractNow.
The good thing with ExtractNow is that apart from the most popular compression formats like RAR and ZIP, it also supports a handful of others. You can set an automatic folder where files will be extracted each and every time. Alternatively, you can use the option to manually define the path for file extraction.
Option #4: Hamster Zip Archiver
The Hamster Zip Archiver is another intuitive WinRAR alternative with loads of features. However, there are a quite a few shortfalls that you will have to deal with. Irrespective of those, it is way better than some other WinRAR alternatives that are pretty expensive. The navigation is fairly simple and rather straightforward.
The Hamster software’s simple interface requires a few major trade-offs though. The number of options during the creation of new archives is extremely limited. You can open files in a number of formats using this software. However, you can make new archives only in the ZIP and 7z formats.
There could be a language issue or two when using the Hamster Zip app. The makers have made sufficient efforts to make sure the main installer of the app is in English. But some users have found Russian on screens while trying to update the software.
Option #5: PeaZip
While PeaZip is a quintessentially WinZip alternative, it is pretty useful when using WinRAR as well. At 10MB, the software causes minimum corrosion on the computer memory. The software supports a range of file formats. The best thing is the software is focussed on security over compression. That is a welcome sign that we see in few other WinRAR alternatives.
The great thing about PeaZip is that it has no paid version and the free version is completely functional. You can use it for free on as many devices as you want. PeaZip is fully capable of using two-factor authentication to read and make encrypted files. This generally works when a randomly selected key factor is combined with a password.
PeaZip comes with a built-in password manager, which helps to encrypt your password until you use a master password to unlock the general interface of the software. Furthermore, you get a number of non-security features as well. You can check/uncheck all these features with just a few clicks around the interface.
Is it Safe to Use Free WinRAR Alternatives?
It totally depends on the kind of software you are using. The ones that we have mentioned in this list are pretty safe for general use. However, some of these applications come loaded with adware that you might accidentally install. While none of these ads are harmful and can be uninstalled later, it is always safer to exercise caution when installing.
If you are downloading an application outside of the ones mentioned in this list, you should be very careful with the ad installs. Not every free WinRAR alternative comes with harmless ads though. Some of these are purely spammy and do not deserve your attention.
At any rate, if you feel any software is pushing unnecessary adware your way, you should show it the way out of your computer.
Compression and decompression are important computer functions that you must use from time to time. In this article, we have mentioned some viable alternatives to WinRAR. We hope you can make use of this article to find a WinRAR alternative relevant to you.
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