Top free and open source alternatives to WinZip and WinRAR, and the best for you

Are you looking for best open source & free Winzip and WinRAR alternatives or best free compression software?  Then you stumble upon at right place, where you will not only get best WinZip and Winrar free alternatives but also their pros and cons too; and why you should install them on your Windows or Linux PC.

There is hardly any computer user, who hasn’t heard the name WinZip. Yes, it is an archive suite, which used to be very popular at the time, when having a hard drive of 40 GB was considered to be luxury. Such archive suits were very popular at that time to reduce the size of big files, and store maximum files within a limited capacity hard drive. I am talking about the time when cloud computing was a term, which was not even available in the dictionary.  Compact Disks with just 700 MB were used, but burning files to disks wasn’t that popular due to the less user-friendly interface, and the problems that were associated with the complete CD burning process.

Nostalgias apart, WinZip is still popular nowadays, but for a different purpose. Its initial purpose still serves some handful of users, but today, archive suites like WinZip are used to archive files to share it over the internet, save it on the cloud, but hardly for lack of storage on the hard drive. Another great advantage of WinZip type archive suits is that it can pack multiple files into one file, which not only save a lot of space, but it becomes easier to share files through any media. The downloader or the one who has access to the zip file can just unpack them, to view the files.

Archives bring more security, as the complete package can be encrypted with a password, which keeps away the hassle of securing or encrypting each file with a password. Archives containing programs and executable files are also safe from virus attacks to a big extent, but no dear, not completely. But the irony is, only a few people use WinZip nowadays, as there are a number of great open source and free archive suites are available. WinZip is free trial software and paid one, that’s why people are switching to other open source and free zip software, moreover, the alternatives of WinZip are not only offered great archiving performance but also are very lightweight.

You might be in a dilemma, which archive suite you should go for when there are many available. Though most the open source and free ones are not that features packed, all of them will surely serve your purposes, no doubt. Let’s find the best open source free WinZip alternative for file compression.

Open source & free Winzip and WinRAR Alternatives

Here are best 7 free Winzip alternatives for your Windows 10,7,8, and Linux PC

  1. 7-Zip

  2. PeaZip

  3. WinUHA

  4. Zipware

  5. Universal Extractor

  6. Hamster zip archiver

  7. Ashampoo Zip Free



7-zip winzip free and open source alternative
7-zip free and open source Zip software


7 zip is free to download software. I have been using 7-Zip for a long time, and I am really satisfied with the services, it is one the best free compression software. Don’t get confused with the term 7 in the name, as you can use 7-Zip, not only on Windows 7, but also on other editions of Windows. 7-Zip is completely free to use, and it comes with a minimal user interface, though it offers a powerful set of features, within the app. On opening the program, you will get a Windows Explorer-like interface, where you can navigate to any folder on your Hard Drive or on your network drive, to make an archive file.

Just right-click on the file or folder and choose the type of archive you want. It supports archiving files to various formats, which include .zip, .tar, .wim, and .7z. 7z is a unique format, which is supported by 7-Zip, and you can get high-level compression with the .7z format. It is one of the biggest reasons, I love using 7-Zip. Within the program, you can easily navigate to the various folder and can open archives like .zip, .7z, .tar, .rar files internally, which can help you view the files, and unarchive them very easily.


  • Very easy to use user interface.
  • Very lightweight and fast.
  • Multiple compression levels available.
  • Tons of useful features available, which can be handy for pro users.
  • Support a number of well-known formats.
  • .7z files are supported by a wide number of archive programs.
  • Batch archiving supported, but you need to use a separate package for that. Get it here.


  • No support for archiving files to .rar, which is a great and widely compatible format.
  • The support for testing the archives is missing.


Availability: Windows



Pzip a free zip file opener
Pzip a free zip file opener


PeaZip is another great and free alternative for WinZip, or you can even call it another archiving tool to fulfill all your archiving requirements. The PeaZip offers a very simple and easy to use interface, and it is similar to that of 7-Zip, as far as the user interface is concerned. On the toolbar, which is present on the top of the program, you can find some useful options, which include, an option to add files to archive, convert archive files, extract archives, which are pretty handy for all types of users.

The program offers a number of great features, and it supports .7z files, which really great. Unlike 7-Zip, PeaZip supports a number of great formats, apart from the normal .zip, .tar, .wim, which include UPX, ARC, and many others. One great feature of PeaZip is that you can even create self-extracting archive packs. It means, the archive files will get unarchived, by opening them, even if no archiving programs are installed within your system. Though not all the programs are impeccable, and thus, let’s have a look at the pros and cons of PeaZip.


  • Has support for a wide variety of formats.
  • Very easy to use interface, which can even be easy for novice users.
  • Has the option to create self-extracting archives, which can be helpful for users not having an archive tool.
  • The program, even after offering a number of features, is very lightweight and fast.


  • The option for batch processing, not present.
  • A self-extracting package is available only for .7z and .ARC archives. It could have supported self-extracting zip files.


Availability: Windows, Linux




WinUHA is another best free compression software, which you should go for if you are looking for an archiver, which gives the best performance of archiving. Just like the other archiving programs mentioned above, WinUHA, as well, offers a Windows Explorer-like interface, where you can find a tree structure on the left side and can see the contents of the folder or the selected location on the right size, or the main area. The program offers an interface, which can be understood by all types of users, making it a great piece of the program.

You should go for this archiving tool, only if you want to convert your files to .uha archive, as that is the only format, which is supported by the program. Though, this free zip file opener can also easily open other archive files, having other formats. If you are not having problems with the limitation of the WinUHA program to create only .uha files, you can surely opt for this program. The app is great if you do not want a number of features, other than the option to archive files. Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of the WinUHA program.


  • Offer the option to convert files to .uha archives, the compression performance of which is better than other archive files.
  • Very easy to use interface, making it easy for a different class of users.
  • Support unarchiving of multiple archiving formats.


  • No support for archiving files to other formats.
  • The process of archiving is very slow compared to other programs of its class.
  • .uha format is not supported by most other archiving programs, and thus, the only option to unarchive it is to use WinUHA.


Availability: Windows


Zipware: Free zip file opener


ZIPware - a free zip file opener on windows 10
ZIPWare – a free zip file opener best for windows 10 interface


Zipware is another great archiving tool, which comes with a different user interface, yet easy to use. It has ditched the user interface of most other programs of its class, and thus, it is different. It offers a premium look, though you can get all the explorer like functionalities on the Zipware program. Making an archive file is very easy, where you will just have to choose the compression format, change some necessary settings and get started.

Zipware support a number of popular archive formats for the purpose of unarchiving, and the user using Zipware can archive files to a number of great file formats, which include .rar, .zip, .7z, .iso and many other, to fulfill the requirements of various users. Just like other archiving tools, you can get the option to archive and unarchive files, directly from the context menu, which is also a handy feature. Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of the tool, and whether it is good for you or not.


  • Supports for a number of useful archiving file formats.
  • Has support to archive files to .iso, which can be used as disk images to mount them directly.
  • Easy to use, and a premium looking interface.
  • Also, support for self-extraction.
  • Has support for scanning viruses in archives, but only for files below 32 GB


  • No option for testing archive files.
  • The interface is different, but sometimes get cluttered, and do not support cascading, which can be pretty irritating at times.


Availability: Windows


Universal Extractor

Universal extractor for ZIP files
Universal extractor for ZIP files


You might need to unarchive files and folders from an archive, and in such cases, the Universal Extractor can really be handy for you. As the name suggests, the following software can only help you to extract archive files, but if you’re looking for ways to keep files into an archive, this following software is not going to help you. You might be thinking, why to go for the software, when there are a number of great open source and free archiving tools are there.

Not all the archive tools and software support all the archive formats, which are available at present. But the following Universal Extractor supports almost all kinds of archives, and it can be helpful for you, if you have newly installed your operating system, and is looking for a quick solution to unarchive your archive files, which might contain your most important files, software, and the drivers, necessary for proper functioning of your new operating system. The application is very handy, easy to use, and lightweight, which can serve its purpose quite well.


  • Very handy tool, which can unarchive archives.
  • Lightweight software, which can be helpful for emergency situations.
  • Has support for almost all the archive formats, which are available today.
  • The simple user interface and nobody should face issues while working with it.


  • Though it does not have the ability to compress files, it could have come with the option to pack multiple files into one, without any compression.
  • The program is last updated in 2010, and thus, it’s functioning on new operating systems can be a question. Issues can also be there with security, as there are no patches against the latest attacks.
  • It could have come with a portable version.


Availability: Windows

Hamster Free Zip Extractor



Hamster Free Zip Extractor is yet another archiving tool, and it also offers you the option to archive files. It comes with some unique algorithms, which can compress files smartly and can save a lot of space if you are space savvy. The app features a very easy to use interface, where you can get all the features handy. The window is completely different from other archiving programs, which you can find regularly.

The application supports a wide number of archiving formats, which include .zip, .rar, .tar, and a number of other formats, such that none of the users feel low while using the following archiving tool. The application is very fast and can compress files 2 to 3 times better compared to other archiving tools, which are available and are popular in the market. Just like other archiving tools, the following Hamster Free Zip Extractor also offer direct archiving and unarchiving, from the context menu of Windows Explorer.


  • Easy to use interface and very smart in archiving files.
  • Has support for unarchiving a wide number of formats.


  • Archiving files and folders are limited only to certain formats.
  • The user interface is a little different but seems cluttered too, with links to social profiles, which most users don’t like.
  • Archive testing tool is not available.


Availability: Windows


Ashampoo Zip Free

Ashampoo Zip Free extractor
Ashampoo Zip Free extractor


If you are looking for a great set of feature archive or unarchive your files, without having a lot of knowledge related to tech Ashampoo Zip Free is the best tool, you can go for. It comes with a very user-friendly interface, and the complex features are explained in simple terms for novice users. The app also comes with a Pro version for power users, but that is not recommended if you are looking for basic archiving tools.

The Ashampoo Zip Free has a number of great features, which can be handy for both professional and novice users. It comes with the option to preview zip files or see the contents, which can save your time, before you start unarchiving multiple ones, before finding the thing you need. This is my favorite feature of Ashampoo Zip Free. But, being an advanced user, I will not recommend you to use this file for the purpose of archiving, as it does not come with a huge set of features for them.


  • Easy and user-friendly interface, quite great for beginners and novice users.
  • Great for touch-screen devices.
  • Allow previewing of files, which is very helpful.
  • The tool to repair archives is present.


  • The options are limited in the free version if compared to other free and open source archiving tools.
  • The user interface being a little different, can be irritating for power users.


Availability: Windows


Other tools

Other great but free zip file openers or archiving and unarchiving tools, which you can go for, include jZip, B1 Free Archiver, and both of them come with a very easy to use user interface. It is great for both power users and normal novice users, and they will not get disappointed with them.

Another great tool is the ExtractNow tool, which is similar to the Universal Extractor, as mentioned earlier in this article. It is a tool, just to unarchive files, which can be useful for many users. But unlike Universal Extractor, the application is still getting updates, and the latest version was released in April 2017, which is still close to one year ago.

Among the many archiving and unarchiving tools, you might get a number of great features, which is not even available in the popular WinZip. But, the applications mentioned here are all free and open source ones, which make the best, considering the fact, they are offered for free. WinZip offers command line archiving and unarchiving, which can be helpful for users who want to do batch processing or the way to use the command line smartly.

If you are looking for batch archiving and unarchiving, I will recommend 7-Zip, and the compression levels are also pretty satisfactory.

For-getting self-extracting archives, and for a ton of extra features, I will recommend PeaZip, which is also very easy to use.



Which one should you go for?

For getting best compression levels, better than that of WinRar or .rar compression, I will recommend WinUHA, and 7-Zip, as they offer pretty good compression levels, which will surely fulfill the requirements of the user.

If you do not archive files a lot, but get some archives with some important files from your pals, you don’t need to keep any of the archiving tools other than the ExtractNow or the Universal Extractor, which one is suitable for you.

If you work a lot with CD and DVD images, or need to share the same with your friends, Zipware can be the tool, which you should go for, as a single piece of software will fulfill all your archiving needs, without paying for a second software, just to make .iso files or disk images.

I hope this small information helped you a lot, and now you can choose the best archiving tools quite easily. If you know some great archive tools, please let me know in the comment section down below.

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