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Compression benchmark: 7-Zip, PeaZip, WinRar, WinZip comparison

File compression and extraction benchmark.
Benchmark settings: 7-Zip, PeaZip, WinRar, WinZip comparison




1) Compare mainstream file archiving utilities (7-Zip, Bandizip, PeaZip, WinRar, WinZip) for best compression sped, maximum compression ratio and fastest extraction

2) Compare archive formats (7z, arc, rar, zip, zipx) to find best real world options for optimal compression performances tradeoff in terms of compression ration and compression / decompression speed

Software settings

Benchmarks are conducted on Windows 10 2009 64 bit using 64 bit versions of:
  • 7-Zip 19.00
  • Bandizip 6.25
  • PeaZip 7.2.0
  • WinRar 5.8
  • WinZip 24
All applications are tested using default, out-of-the-box compression settings for the selected archive format.
No cryptography option is set, since encryption impact on performances is out of the scope of this benchmark.

Hardware settings

Notebook with Intel Core i7-8565U CPU, 4 physical cores with hyper-threading (8 logical cores), 8 GB RAM
System disk 512 GB PCIe NVMe SSD, NTFS filesystem
External disks 4TB 5400 RPM HDD USB3, NTFS filesystem

Archive formats compared in this benchmark

  • 7Z file format popular Open Source archive format introduced by 7-Zip, providing higher compression ratio than RAR, and now supported by many archive managers
  • ARC file format Open Source archive format introduced by FreeArc and read / write supported by PeaZip, written ground up for high compression ratio and advanced features like strong encryption and error recovery
  • RAR file format (RarLabs RAR5 revision) proprietary archive format providing better compression that ZIP plus advanced features like error recovery; due its proprietary nature it can be written only by WinRar, and it is supported by third parts archivers only for extraction
  • ZIP file format widely used archive format, read / write supported by most file manager and archive manager utilities, tested with Deflate and with BZip2 compression algorithm (available as preset in PeaZip from Add button dropdown menu)
  • ZIPX file format introduced by WinZip to improve compression ratio over ZIP and to introduce other modern features
  • ZPAQ format, computing intensive algorithm providing very high compression ratio, available as preset in PeaZip from Add button dropdown menu, both at normal and ultra compression level settings.
Input data

Benchmark input contains 42 files in 4 directories for total 303 MB (318.000.857 bytes), composed by well known reference files representative of different data structures, widely used for compression benchmarks:

Compression / decompression test

Benchmark methods

Benchmark input data is saved to system disk (PCIe SSD) and compressed to system disk, same partition, separate directory; the resulting archives are then extracted to separate directory on same (system) disk/partition.
Then, same operations are repeated on a slower mechanical disk, where hard disk read / write speed may become a limiting factor: benchmark input data is saved to external disk (USB3 HDD) and compressed to same external disk, same partition, separate directory; resulting archives are extracted to separate directory on same (external) disk/partition.

Each compression and extraction test is repeated 10 times to get an average value; size is expressed in MB, time in seconds.
Each archiving utility performance is tested working with zip and at least another archive format.

For pure compression formats (Brotli and Zstandard) requiring to consolidate the multiple input files of the benchmark into a single TAR file, are shown both pure compression and extraction speeds - which are the actual speed for a single file input, and are the values reported in the graphs - and, in brackets (), the total operation time taking in account tar / untar operations, with performance penalty being almost negligible on fast SSD disk.

Benchmark results table, the lower the better for all columns

Utility Compression SSD (sec)
Compression HDD (sec)
Archive size (MB) Compression ratio
SSD (sec)
HDD (sec)
PeaZip, ZIP 12,1 16,0 97,70 32,24% 1,6 13,4
PeaZip, Brotli
3,3 (3,5)
8,5 (19,5)
100,00 33,00% 0,9 (1,1)
11,7 (22.5)
PeaZip, Zstd 1,0 (1,2)
4,5 (15,5)
99,20 32,74% 0,6 (0,8)
9,8 (20,6)
PeaZip, ZIP/Bzip2 fast
12,6 14,5 83,00 27,39% 4,5 19,8
PeaZip, 7Z 39,6 42,2 73,60 24,69%
1,0 13,0
PeaZip, ARC 17,2 18,3 71,70 23,66%
7,1 16,8
PeaZip, ZPAQ 37,2 40,6 68,50 22,61%
26,8 32,8
PeaZip, ZPAQ ultra
354,0 360,0 57,60 19,01%
356,0 364,0
7-Zip, ZIP 11,9 16,0 97,70 32,24%
1,2 13,1
7-Zip, 7Z 38,0 40,3 73,60 24,29%
0,9 13,0
WinRar, ZIP 3,0 6,0 100,00 33,00%
1,0 76,6
WinRar, RAR 13,8 25,5 80,40 26,53%
1,0 18,9
Bandizip, ZIP 3,2 7,0 101,00 33,33%
2,0 13,4
Bandizip, 7Z 63,4 69,7 72,80 24,03%
5,2 17,0
WinZip, ZIP 20,5 26,0 97,10 32,05%
2,0 12,3
WinZip, ZIPX 34,7 37,2 70,70 23,33%
46,2 47,4

Compression ratio results: what application compresses better

Compressing data to ZIP format, which is read / write supported by all all archiving applications tested in this benchmark, all utilities reach a compression ratio in the order of 33%, with WinZip reaching best compression for ZIP archive at 97,10MB but at the cost of much slower compression speed.
7-Zip and PeaZip (which uses the same optimized Deflate algorithm of 7-Zip) attains good compression in zip format with 97,70MB at intermediate speed, while WinRar and Bandizip reach the lowest compression at 100MB and 101 MB respectively, but with significantly higher compression speed.
An exception is ZIP compressed with BZip2 method (a preset available in PeaZip) which reduces input size down to 83 MB, result much closer to strong compression formats (as rar and 7z) than to ZIP files compressed with Deflate method.
Brotli and Zstandard (both at default compression level 3) provides compression ratio in the same range of ZIP, comparing favourably in terms of speed.

Compressing in formats alternative to ZIP allows all tested archiving applications to reach a better compression ratio, roughly grouped at 25%.
WinZip reaches a good compression ration on the test data with ZIPX format creating a 70,70MB output archive, followed by PeaZip with ARC format at 71,70MB - with ARC outperforming 7Z and ZIPX in terms of compression speed, taking only about half the time.
In 7Z format both 7-Zip and PeaZip obtain a 73,60 MB archive with comparable times, while BandiZip produces a marginally smaller output at 72,80 MB taking about twice the time.
WinRar with RAR format (RAR5 revision) creates the largest output file of this sub-group, 80,40MB, with good archive creation speed, even faster than ARC.
Best compression is reached by PeaZip with ZPAQ format, the normal compression level preset reduces benchmark data size down to 68,50 MB (22,61% compression ratio) with a speed comparable to 7Z.
ZPAQ ultra compression level scores the minimum output size of the benchmark, 57,60 MB (19,01%, the only compression ratio below 20%), but the extreme compression comes at the cost of a 10x increase in computing time.

best compression application benchmark

Compression speed results: what is the fastest application

WinRar and BandiZip score the lowest compression times in ZIP format (although producing a larger ZIP archive), with the speed advantage being more evident on the fastest solid state disk.
7-Zip and PeaZip employ longer time but the optimized Deflate algorithm creates a more compressed ZIP archive, however WinRar with RAR format and PeaZip both with ZIP/BZip2 and with ARC formats produce significantly smaller output with only marginally slower compression.

The compression speed result of BZip2 algorithm is especially interesting because it scales very well on multicore architectures, and in benchmark CPU (Intel i7-8565U) it approaches the speed of Deflate algorithm providing significantly better compression ratio (27,39% instead of 32,24%); BZip2 speed result is marginally faster than RAR and ARC, and much more faster than 7Z and ZIPX.

Brotli speed is comparable with fastest ZIP implementations, and Zstandard (with generic multithreading option activated by default by PeaZip) scores the highest compression speed, significantly faster than any other compressor tested in the benchmark.

WinZip ZIP compression is slower than RAR and ARC, with only a marginal compression ratio increase on ZIP archives group but far worse compression than any of the non-ZIP archives.
ZIPX (WinZip), ZPAQ (PeaZip), and 7Z (7-Zip, PeaZip) compression algorithms are comparable for speed, and significantly slower than RAR and ARC, with Bandizip 7Z compression being slower that other 7Z implementations and the second slowest performance of the benchmark before ZPAQ ultra level.

what is the fastest file archiver software

Extraction speed results: what is the fastest application

Decompression results usually faster than creation or archives, with few exceptions.
The difference in speed is especially noticeable on the faster SSD disk, while slower mechanical HDD masks this difference to some extent, which hints that compression stage is more CPU-heavy and mainstream algorithms are optimized for extraction (that in most user cases, i.e. content distribution, is more common and performed more often than compression).

Extraction times of ZIP, RAR and 7Z archives is quite tightly packed for all file archivers utilities, despising RAR and 7Z compression being significantly slower than ZIP - with exception of Bandizip extraction of its 7Z archive which is the slowest of this sub-group, a gap more evident on faster SSD disk.
Another very unusual data point is WinRar resulting very slow in extracting its ZIP file on the mechanical disk while in all other test the software result performing very well (with RAR extraction being as fast as ZIP extraction on SSD) - to verify the correctness of the data, the very same archive was tested for integrity, and extracted with other utilities without producing the same unusual slow result.

ZIP/BZip2 extraction is significantly slower than ZIP/Deflate, and also compairs unfavourably with format like 7Z and RAR (but is faster than ARC and ZIPX).
Brotli and Zstandard features the slightly fastest decompression speeds of the group.

PeaZip ARC extraction performed more slowly than 7Z extraction, reversing the results from compression performances
Also ZPAQ decompression compares unfavorably with mainstream archive formats, being quite similar to compression speed.
WinZip ZIPX features significantly slower decompression performance taking over 6 times ARC on SSD, and almost twice slower than ZPAQ normal, and surpass only the extraction speed of ZPAQ ultra which scores an order of magnitude slower than competitors.

fastest decompression speed benchmark

Bonus test: drag and drop extraction speed

Extracting content from archives by drag and drop is a very common operation: PeaZip features an optimized drag & drop extraction mechanism, which extracts the data directly into the intended output path.
This improves security (no temporary data is written out of the intended path) but also, in some cases, performances, as the data would otherwise be written twice to be moved to final output path unless it is on the same partition of the input.
In this test, the benchmark input data is compressed to ZIP archive with 7-Zip, and copied on external USB3 4TB 5400 RPM mechanical HDD.
The archive is opened in each one of the archivers, and extracted by drag and drop to a second external USB3 4TB 5400 RPM mechanical HDD, taking in account time for decompression and for moving the data to the final position (test is repeated 10 time for each application to get an average value).

Utility Drag & drop zip file extraction speed (sec)
PeaZip 13,6
7-Zip 17,0
WinRar 16,9
Bandizip 17,0
WinZip 15,5

7-Zip, Bandizip and Winrar are tightly packed around very similar performances of 17 seconds, while PeaZip fast drag and drop implementation shows a clear performance advantage in this scenario completing the extraction in 13,6 seconds. WinZip provides an intermediate performance at 15,5 seconds.

Conclusions: what is the best performing application?

Overall best compressor

It is not easy, if even possible, to define what is the best performing application in this benchmark, as all tested apps supports multiple archive formats fulfilling different needs for different user cases at best. Let see results in detail:

7-Zip, PeaZip and WinZip lacks a fast ZIP compression as featured in WinRar and Bandizip (with WinZip being the slowest), but provides marginally better compression ratio than faster applications, and zip decompression falls in the same range for all tested utilities.

Fastest compressor
To address this shorthcoming, PeaZip supports Brotli and Zstandard, both well capable to compete favourably with fastest Deflate implementations, with Zstandard providing by far the fastest compression performance of the benchmark, even taking in account the extra time overhead for PeaZip to transparently add multiple inputs to TAR archive before compression.
Read more about fast compression benchmarks: Brotli vs Zstandard fast compression benchmark, and faster than Zip compression benchmark.

Also, PeaZip features as pre-set ZIP/BZip2 compression, that gets close to high compression formats but on modern multicore machines is almost as fast as classic ZIP/Deflate for compression (even if not for decompression).

WinRar's RAR format provides significantly better-than-zip compression running only marginally slower than 7-Zip's optimized Deflate (and faster than WinZip's ZIP), and keeps decompression as fast as for zip.

format provides even better compression at cost of slower speed than rar, but decompression is as fast as for zip and rar, making 7Z an excellent choice for content distribution case of use, where both reducing the content size as much as possible and allowing fast extraction are desired qualities. Bandizip produced marginally smaller 7Z archive than 7-Zip and PeaZip at cost at much slower compression and decompression.
In this test PeaZip with ARC outperforms 7Z results for all utilities in terms of compression ratio and compression speed, but falls short with slower decompression.

WinZip with ZIPX fared well in compression ratio and kept compression speed reasonable (a bit faster than better results for 7Z), but extraction is extremely slow even on fast SSD (probably being CPU-limited by a very heavy algorithm implementation) so use of this format may be unpractical for general purpose.

Best compression ratio
With ZPAQ PeaZip provided the best compression ratio, with compression times comparable to 7Z (but slower extraction) at normal compression preset, and even superior compression at ultra preset.
Read more about best compressors in terms of maximum attained compression ratio in maximum copression benchmark.

Final recommendations

ZIP remains the format of choice if fast compression and compatibility are the main concerns, with WinRar and Bandizip providing faster ZIP compression even if at the cost of losing some compression ratio compared to other utilities
Anyway, modern algorithms as Google's Brotli and Facebook's Zstandard are becoming viable alternatives providing comparable compression ratio at higher speed - especially Zstandard, with multithreading parameter enabled, which performs very well on multicore machines definitely outperforming all Deflate-based compressors / decompressors.

RAR and 7Z formats provides far better compression ratio than zip increasing only compression time, not decompression, making it a viable high performance alternative in every user case where archive extraction occurs more often than archive creation - i.e. for content distribution.
In 7Z subgroup, 7-Zip and PeaZip performs faster than Bandizip at the cost of a marginally inferior compression ratio.
RAR format is proprietary and is supported for archive creation only by WinRar - even if some archivers as PeaZip can create RAR archives this requires WinRar being installed to use its binaries.
ZIP/BZip2 provides good compression ratio, closer to RAR and 7Z than to ZIP/Deflate, and also provides acceptable compression speed, but lags behind in terms of decompression speed; it may still be a good choice where usually more data gets compressed than extracted, i.e. backup tasks.
Also, ZIP/BZip2 may not be supported by some extractors, notably Compressed Folders utility integrated in Windows.

Even better compression ratio could be reached using ARC of ZIPX, or tweaking 7Z to maximum compression settings, or using algorithms as BCM, but maximum possible compression ratio is reached by PAQ family compressors (which are multiple times winner of Hutter Prize).
PeaZip supports PAQ, LPAQ and ZPAQ, with ZPAQ at normal compression level being available as preset an competing in the range of slow (but perfectly usable for general purpose archiving) algorithms as 7Z / ZIPX.
ZPAQ with ultra preset provided by far the best compression of this benchmark, significantly outperforming even other algorithms of same family, reducing the 303 MB input to 57,60 MB (19,01% compression ratio): for reference, PeaZip using LPAQ8 reduces the size of benchmark input data down to 64,40MB (21,25%) in around 4 minutes, and with PAQ8O compresses to 60,50 MB (19,97%) in about 50 minutes - a breakthrough being needed (either in term of raw computing power or algorithm / implementation efficiency) in order to bring performances of PAQ family at highest compression settings in the range of general purpose usage.ù


For users needing maximum compatibility with recipients using different archive managers, the best choice is ZIP format, in which WinRar and BandiZip provides best compression speeds, even if PeaZip and 7-Zip provides marginally better compression ratio.

For users needing maximum compression speed, the clear winner here are Brotli and Zstandard, both supported by PeaZip, which is the best choice in this regard.

For maximum compression ratio, WinRar's RAR format is faster but compresess less than 7Z format in PeaZip and 7-Zip, and ZPAQ format supported by PeaZip provides even stronger compression, placing at top in this category.

Synopsis: Compression benchmark. What is the overall best application between 7-Zip, BandiZip, PeaZip, WinRar, WinZip for general purpose archiving and compression in different formats. What is the application providing best compression. What is the fastest application. What software extracts / decompress faster. Conclusion about file archivers performances comparative.

Topics: PeaZip vs 7-Zip vs WinRar vs WinZip compression benchmark, which is the best file archiver application

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