The Best Zip File Openers Free Download Software

  • File type: Zip compressed files
  • Extension: .Zip
  • mime type: application/zip


What is a ZIP File

ZIP files are archive files and folders that have been zipped or archived using the ZIP compression algorithm. It is one of the most commonly compression algorithm today.
This is a compression algorithm in which each of the original files is compressed separately of one another.
This compression format is widely supported by a variety of softwares and even by the basic operating systems by default. One of the most useful ways of distributing a whole bunch of files and folders is to have them compressed under a .zip.


With zip files, you will be able to send many files/folders simultaneously and in the fastest possible time frame. You can attach your .zip to an email and then send to several recipients at once. In addition, it may contain word documents, PDF documents, Picture and Video files/folders. 

A zip file may be secured or unsecured. With the latter, anyone would be able to have access to and open it. However, you can secure it with a password. This ensures that your file would only be unzipped or opened when the password is provided by a recipient or group of recipients.


The best Zip file openers

In this section we will learn which are the best zip openers. Top zip programs online that open zip files and folders. Whenever you need to share big files and folders to family and friends on different social media platforms or you want to reserve your hard disk space, compressing your files becomes a necessity.

Whether you own a microsoft Windows 10 or Mac PC, you need to download and install a safe Zip opener that is perfect to create zip files even a password protected. Also open zip files and extract a compressed file. Some are free zip programs while others are paid versions.

Now, you can get to know what is, how to use it and compare the best compression software including encrypted files and folders. The best completely free Zip programs for Windows and Mac online to manage your files type.


winzip logo

Coming in at number one of the best Zip programs for Windows and Mac is WinZip, the best zip file opener.

WinZip is a dynamic, compatible file compression software and decompression zip app that is available for both Mac and Windows OS.

It is also probably the most renowned and popular program for zipped files. With WinZip zip extractor you would be able to seamlessly compress a file, unzip file, secure, share, decompress and open large files.

In addition, WinZip utilizes top-notch encryption that secures your files from unauthorized persons. It also allows you to link up with a large number of cloud storage apps like Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive.

Also, with the “ZipSend” feature, you can compress pretty big files which you can then send to someone via email as an attachment. If you are using a Mac or Window OS and you want a really good compression program, then WinZip is one of the best out there.


Supported Formats

Winzip supports the following and much more; IMG, tar, XZ, gzip, can, 7z, Iha/Izh, rar, ISO, VMDK, VHD, and of course zip.



You can download the latest version of Winzip for windows, MAC and mobile from the official website

It is the best Zip opener. But there are many free winzip alternatives.




One other good Zip file opener that you should consider getting is WinRAR. This utility software is a perfect tool for compressing multimedia files. The beauty of this tool is that it will automatically choose the best possible method for compressing your files.


WinRAR will not only open RAR files, but will also generate RAR files as well. It comes with a feature known as the ‘solid archive box’ which allows you to compress batch files. WinRAR has many other features and supports many functions, such as;

  • it can repair damaged archive files,
  • It can categorize archive files in different volumes,
  • This opener uses a 256-bit AES encryption security feature, and
  • It also supports long file names.


Supported Formats

WinRAR is a very good opener that supports a number of formats, such as; TAR, ZIP, RAR, ACE, 7-ZIP, UUE, ARJ, Z, and CAB. However, you may need to spend time coming to grips with its user-interface as it can be a bit tricky.



You can download winrar latest version for windows, MAC and mobile android and apple iphone from the official site

It is the best rar opener.




 The program

Another but free Zip program that you should try getting for free is the 7-Zip file opener. This open-source file opener compression and decompression application comes with a compression ratio that is very high.


Similar to WinRAR, 7-Zip comes with the 256-bit AES encryption feature. Other functionalities include;

  • a FAR manager plugin,
  • an integrated,systematic file manager,
  • Windows Shell integration, and
  • self-extracting functions specifically designed for 7z files.


Supported Formats

7-Zip is a Zip software that is commonly utilized by both commercial and business interests. The extension supported by 7-Zip include the following; WIM, UEFI, NTFS, ARJ, CAB, MSI, IHEX, XZ, GPT, ISO, FAT, MBR, NTFS, VHD, XAR, LZMA, Z, TAR, GZIP, CHM, DMG, LZH, RAR, SquashFS, VDI, CPIO, EXT, BZIP2, AR, NSIS and so on.



7-zip website

You can download 7-zip latest version from the official website. You will find versions for windows, mac and mobiles.

It is the best open source free zip file opener, a free winzip alternative.


Hamster Zip Archiver

The Hamster Archiver is yet another Windows OS and Mac compatible good Zip compression and decompression software. This free-to-use app is simplistic, user-friendly and interactive.

It supports a large number of data types and comes with a drag-and-drop user-interface that further exemplifies the fact that it is an easy to use software.

Like WinZip, this free zip opener is compatible with a number of cloud services, such as; Yandex Disk, Dropbox and Google Drive.


Supported Formats

It supports the following extensions; rar, wim, jar, swm, gzip, img, cab, iso, tbz, deb, Izh, dmg, tar, pkg, z, 7z, zip, gz, bz2, arj, rmp and so on.



You can download windows and mac version of Hamster from its official website


PeaZip review


The program

PeaZip is also a free-to-use Zip program that compresses, archives large files with limitless ease on your Mac and Windows PC. PeaZip is known to support more than 150 formats and comes with a number of exciting functions and features.

It uses a password manager that is secure and encrypted. In addition to this, PeaZip makes use of two-factor authentication to further keep user files safe from unauthorized individuals.

Archive files can be scheduled and divided into a number of different files while users can also search for duplicate files if they want to.


Supported Formats

Some of the file suffix that PeaZip supports includes; hxs, pet, taz, xpi, Izh, Java, pup, lit, deb, smzip, gzip, bz, chi, chm, hxr, rpm, hxq, Google Android’s apk, 7z, Izma, oxt, balz, zpaq, vhd, quad, Ipaq1, mslz, xar, tz, pak, fat, pot, gnm, and so on.



peazip official website

You can download peazip for windows and MAC from the official website here.


These are some of the best file compression and decompression softwares not online available for Windows and Mac OS users.

They offer several functions and support a large number of formats. With these, you can send big files via email as an attachment or to social media accounts.

Zip softwares such as PeaZip and 7-Zip are also free-to-use utility tools that you can download and use on your desktop PC today.


Comparison of the best zip software 


comparison of the best zip file openers software

One thing that 7-Zip, WinRAR, WinZip, Hamster  and PeaZip have in common is that they are all software used in the compression and decompression of large files.

This section aims to compare each program looking at their license, supported platforms, supported format, compression rate, and file size.



 When it comes to license, all are categorized into two license groups, namely; “Freeware” and “Trialware”.

For “Freeware” you have 7-Zip, Hamster Archiver and PeaZip while the “Trialware” includes; WinRAR and WinZip.

With WinRAR, users can try out the program for absolutely FREE for a duration of 40 days. However, WinZip is a “Trialware” with a free trial version available to users for FREE and for a period of 21 days. WinZip also offer a variety of advanced versions which are available at a cost.




  • Freeware: 7-Zip, Hamster Archiver and PeaZip are all free, open-source software.
  • Trialware: WinRAR and WinZip.


Supported Platforms


Whether you are using a Windows or Mac desktop device, you would require a program that is capable of compressing big files and save you valuable memory space on your hard disk.

These programs are useful to all platforms as they help to preserve your hard disk space and ensure that your system performs to its optimal capabilities.

Here are the supported platforms for 7-Zip, WinRAR, WinZip, Hamster and PeaZip.

  • 7-Zip: It is supported on Windows OS and this includes; Windows Vista, XP, 2000, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2016, and NT.
  • WinRAR: WinRAR is available on Windows 2010, 2008, 2007, 2003, 2000. “RAR” is a WinRAR version that is exclusive to Android devices including smartphone and tablet mobile devices. Although it is interesting to note that the more recent WinRAR versions are not supported on older Windows OS.
  • WinZip: It is supported on both desktop and mobile platforms. You can get WinZip “Trialware” that is supported on Windows 2007, 2008, 2010, and Vista. You also have WinZip for Mac OS 10.8 version or higher. WinZip for Android and iOS mobile devices is also readily available for mobile users.
  • Hamster Archiver: It is supported on Mac OS X as well as Windows 2007, 2008, 2010, Vista and XP.
  • PeaZip: You can download the PeaZip file compression and decompression “Freeware” for Mac as well as Windows Vista, 2007, 2008, 2010, NT, and XP.


Supported File Formats

Popular data formats like RAR, 7Z, and ZIP are supported by 7-ZIP, WinRAR, WinZip, Hamster  and PeaZip.

There are also those that are not too popular, but equally supported by these programs

Here are some of the file formats that you can expect from them:

  • 7-Zip: It supports both packing GZIP, XZ, 7Z, BZIP2, WIM, ZIP, and TAR. However, 7-Zip supports only the unpacking versions of these file formats: Z, AR, RAR, CramFS, ARJ, IHEX, CHM, LZH, EXT, CAB, UDF, RPM, XAR, VHD, GPT, QCOW2, UEFI, MBR, ISO, CPIO, VMDK, FAT, MSI, DMG, VDI, NSIS, HFS, SquashFS, NTFS, and LZMA.
  • WinRAR: WinRAR also supports a large number, some of which include; OO1, JAR, ISO, RAR, LZ, UUE, ZIP, ARJ, BZ2, Z, GZ, 7Z, TAR, ZIPX, GZip, CAB, XZ, and LZH.
  • WinZip: The file formats supported consist of BZ2, ZIPX, VHD, ZIP, GZip, VMDX, CAB, XZ, 7Z, XZ, ISO, LZH, TAR, and Z.
  • Hamster Archiver: It supports a vast number of popular file types such as RAR, ZIP, TAR, WIM, 7Z, and DMG. The other formats supported by this opener include the following; CAB, SWM, ARJ, DEB, IMG, JAR, TAZ, RPM, IZH, APM, ISO, XPI, GZIP, ELF, TGZ, FAT, CHM, TXZ, HXS, NTFS, MSI, PKG, XAR, VHD, CHI, MBR, LIB, HFS, TPZ, DLL, ODS, UDF, SYS, PMB and so on.
  • PeaZip: With it you have an open source compression and decompression software that is capable of supporting multiple files formats, such as; RPM, NSIS, OOo, ACE, PAQ/LPAQ, 7-ZIP, CHM, TAR, ISO, CAB, ARJ, Z, LHA/LZH, SPLIT,  BZ2, GZ, 7Z, ZIP, PEA, RAR, DEB, QUAD, JARand CPIO.


File Size and Compression Rate

All  actually offer similar output file size and compression rates. The difference lies with the file format used in compressing files.

For example, if you use .zipx file format instead of .zip to compress large files with the WinZip Trialware, the .zipx will offer a much higher rate of compression compared to .zip .

Likewise, if you decide to use 7-Zip and you choose 7Z file rather than ZIP in compressing files, the 7Z file format will offer you a better rate of compression when compared to the ZIP file format.



 If you are looking for an open source, freeware software that will help you to compress and decompress a file even large files, you can go for any of 7-Zip, Hamster or PeaZip.

However, if you have your reservations about freeware, then you can try WinZip or WinRAR which you can buy, but also offer you a trial period to test their capabilities.



Compatibility is another indicator that you should not ignore. You should go for applications that are supported on whatever platform you are presently using.

If you own a Windows PC for example, then you could go for 7-Zip or WinRAR. Alternatively, if you own a Mac OS device, then there are versions of Hamster , PeaZip and WinZip that are compatible.


Language Options:

The English language is not the only language option available on many of the ZIP applications around. However, for non-English speaking users, it is important to get a compression and decompression software that allows you to use it in your preferred language.

7-Zip supports more than 80 languages, while WinRAR supports about 24 languages.

Hamster ZIP Archiver supports as many as 40 languages, PeaZip supports about 30 languages and WinZip supports more than 10 languages.


The software mentioned in this post also offer users an intuitive, user-friendly, and interactive interface making the software easy to use by even the most unskilled computer user.

7-Zip, WinRAR, WinZip, Hamster ZIP Archiver and PeaZip compression and decompression softwares are the ones that you can consider using today.

They will compress large files including multimedia files and help to conserve the valuable hard disk space of your desktop or mobile device.


How to open ZIP Files

Unzipping on Windows OS

Windows OS allows you to create a zip folder or file with ease using a variety of programs. You can use programs like 7Zip, WinRAR or WinZip if you want to compress files/folders under a single .zip. While these programs allow you to create zip files, they are also helpful when you want to open one.

Here’s how you can open a zip on your Windows OS personal computer.

  1. To extract a downloaded .zip on your Windows OS, you will first need to save it to your hard drive.
  2. Next, you will highlight the saved file and then “Right Click” on it. 
  3. As you “Right Click” on the .zip, you will see several options. Highlight and click on the “extract all” option.
  4. By clicking on the “extract all” option, the systems extraction wizard will be opened. 
  5. You should then click on the “Next” button. After clicking on “Next”, choose the location where you would want the extracted files to be saved. For example, you may select the “Document File” on your “C drive”.
  6. You then select “Make a new folder” option. Usually the folder name may appear as – “ [FONT NAME]”.
  7. Click on the “Ok” button. As soon as you do, the extracted files would then be directed to this system directory – “C\Document Files\ [FONT NAME].”
  8. Click on the “next” button and the extraction of the compressed file contents to the system directory above will commence.
  9. Ensure that you select the check-box option to “Show Extracted Files”.
  10. Once the extraction process has been completed, click on the “Finish” button.
  11. You can now open the new folder named “ [FONT NAME]”.
  12. When this folder is opened, you will see a file named “install.exe”. When you double-click the “install.exe” file, those available common files will then be installed.
  13. There will be other files/folders in  “ [FONT NAME]” folder. These would include; PCL LaserJet soft fonts, Human Readable folders and PostScript (type 1) Binary and ASCII versions.


how to Unzip on Mac OS

Every single Mac computer is built with a proprietary file archive utility program known as “Archive”. 

The Archive will either create or unzip a zip with ease. You should know that this simple built-in archive extraction software utilizes by default this archive format. 

While this is a basic program, you may also wish to use a more sophisticated program like “The Unarchiver” for example. This free to download program for extracting zip files allows you to gain more control of the .zip including its data compression algorithms. 


Opening using Archive

To open a .zip on Mac OS using the Archive, just go to the context menu and then click on the option to “open”.

It is that simple and as soon as you click on the “open” option, the zip file will be unzipped and you can access the first/folders in it.


Opening with The Unarchiver

Similarly, go to the context menu and click on “Open With” option. Highlight “The Unarchiver” and then click on it. 

You can download “The Unarchiver” for free directly from App Store or the Apple website. Note that it is better to download it from the website as it would be fully functional than if you download from the AppStore.

Also, you can set another third-party to be your Mac OS default archive utility if you prefer.


On Linux

If you want to view this format in a Linux server using SSH, follow these simple instructions.

  1. First of all, you can either open Terminal or Putty. 
  2. Secondly, using SSH, you should then login to your respective server.
  3. Next, go to the directory location of the zip after you have logged in.
  4. To unzip the file, type this command; (unzip [filename].zip).
  5. Note that by trying the command above, you may unzip the file or you may not. If the latter is the case, you would notice an error message similar to this – (bash: unzip: command not found). 
  6. If you cannot open it directly, you can use the command below for both Ubuntu and Debian.

    (apt-get install unzipfor Red Hat Linux/Fedora/CentOS users:)
    (yum install unzip).
  7. Finally, you can try once more using the command of (unzip [filename].zip) and it should open this time around.



The Best online zip openers

There are some websites that let you open your zip files without winzip and without downloading any program. is a free online opener. You can easily drag or upload your compressed files and open them online.


Files2zip is another zip opener online  option. You can unzip files online and they will be sent the information to your mail. It is not needed a registration only click and collect in your mail.




Programs that Open Zip Files

In Windows

  • Zipeg,
  • 7-Zip
  • WinACE,
  • PicoZIP,
  • WinZip,
  • ALTools AlZip,
  • Smith Micro Stuffit Deluxe,
  • WinRAR,
  • PKZip,
  • TurboSoft AnyZip,
  • Winferno SnapZip,
  • Bitberry BitZipper

In Linux

You can use the following linux commands:
  • p7zip,
  • funzip,
  • unzip


How to create Zip Files and Folders

Users can create them on the Windows operating system using several softwares such as PKZip, WinZip.
MacOSX users can create ZIP archive files simply by:
  • Right clicking over a file or a set of files
  • Click on the option ‘Create Archive of {filename}’
  • The archive file will be created with the ‘filename’ in the same directory as the original files.

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