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PeaZip is a free cross-platform file compression utility that provides an unified portable GUI for many Open Source technologies like 7-Zip, FreeArc, PAQ, UPX... free alternative to WinRar, WinZip and similar proprietary software.
- Create 7Z, ARC, BZ2, GZ, *PAQ, PEA, QUAD/BALZ, TAR, UPX, WIM, XZ, ZIP files
- Open and extract ACE, ARJ, CAB, DMG, ISO, LHA, RAR, UDF, ZIPX files and more,
over 180 archive types supported
Features of PeaZip includes:
archives opener and extractor, batch creation and extraction of multiple archives at once, convert files, create self-extracting archives, split and join files, strong encryption with two factor authentication, encrypted password manager, secure deletion, find duplicate files, calculate hash and checksum, export job definition as script.

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Compression benchmarks: PeaZip, WinRar, WinZip comparison


Comparison of file archiving utilities for best compression and fastest extraction speed

Maximum compression ratio and speed comparative test of ZIP, ZIPX, RAR, ARC, and 7Z archive formats

Analyze best tradeoff options for optimal compression performances and fast compression/decompression speed

File archiver utilities compared in this benchkmark

Benchmarks are conducted using WinZipwinzip file compression speed, WinRarwinrar compression benchmarks, IZArc, and PeaZip - Microsoft Windows versions - to find best choice for file format and archiver utility.
7-Zip7zip file compression benchmarks and FreeArccompression speed benchmarks are not included in this benchmark since used as backend binaries in PeaZip, so benchmark results for those utilities would be closely similar to results using PeaZip.
Programs were tested using default, out-of-the-box compression settings for the selected format, in all cases the compression level was labelled as "normal", excluding for IZArc where "Maximal" compression level was the default.
No cryptography option was employed, since testing encryption / decryption overhead impact on archiving process was out of the scope of this research.
After each compression test the output archive was extracted in order to test it was identical to input data.
For a in-depth functional comparison of file archivers (supported formats and features) you can refer to this file archiver software comparison pageComparison of archive managers
Similarility, to know more about how different archive / compression formats compares in terms of features (compression, recovery capabilities, encryption, etc) you can refer to this archive formats comparison pagearchive types

Software versions

PeaZip 3.8 (3.8.1 for ZIPX extraction) 64 bit; WinRar 4.01 64 bit ; WinZip 15.0, IZArc 4.1.6.

Archive formats compared in this benchmark

This benchmarkcomputing is similar in scope and methods to other available comparatives, i.e. well known Maximumcompression benchmarkMaximum compression test. Current test compares PeaZip, WinRar, WinZip, IzArc in terms of maximum compression ratio and speed, archiving and extracting files of multiple types (divided in two sets, see below), to various archive types:
  • ZIP file format, widely used archive format, supported for extraction and often creation by most of file and archive manager utilities.
  • RAR file format, widespread archive format providing better compression that ZIP and other advanced features. Unlike ZIP it is based on a proprietary algorithm, so no third part freeware software can create RAR files, but due to its huge popularity almost all archive managers supports RAR extraction.
  • ZIPX file format, a format introduced a few years ago by WinZip, partially based on ZIP with use of better compression algorithms to provide higher compression ratio.
  • ARC file format, a quite new Open Source archive format introduced by FreeArc (and supported as experimental format both in creation and extraction by PeaZip), written ground up for high compression ratio and advanced features like strong encryption and error recovery.
  • 7Z file format, a popular Open Source archive format introduced by 7-Zip, providing higher compression ratio than RAR, and now supported by many archive managers.

System and hardware

Notebook personal computer running Microsoft Windows 7 64 bit operating system, 5400rpm HD, NTFS filesystem, cached data (discard the first instance of the test in order to have the data cached in RAM and eliminate as possible input reading operation from the disk), 6GB RAM DDR3 1066 MHz SDRAM, CPU Intel Core i7 740QM (4 physcal cores with Hyper-threading for a total of 8 logical cores).

Set 1: compress & decompress classic reference file sets

Set 1 is composed by various standard test files: Calgary and Canterbury corporaCalgary Corpus, Canterbury, enwik8english wikipedia dump, Generic compression benchmarkpaq compression benchmark, Waterloo setsstandard compression file set, containing 134 MB (141506533 B) of data in 71 files and 10 folders.
It contains well known reference files widely used for compression benchmarks, representative of different data structures.

This is a classic compression benchmark, meant to synthetically evaluate how fast and efficient can be the compression and extraction of files representing various typical data structures.

File compression (speed and ratio), set 1

Classic benchmark of speed (in the graph, represented by blue square points) and compression ratio (histogram) over few large files representing various typical data structures.

All archivers completed the test without errors.

Compression benchmark results

ZIP format provided low compression ratio with good speed, but RAR and ARC reached excellent results in terms of speed (comparable with better ZIP compressors) providing far better compression ratio than ZIP format.
In the ZIP group PeaZip provided significantly better compression ratio than other applications, at comparable speed.
IZArc achieved the slowest ZIP compression, with compression ratio comparable with WinZip and WinRar; WinRar was the fastest ZIP compressor.
RAR format provided a better compression ratio tahn ZIP, but worse than other non-ZIP formats, and achieved a good speed result, that was comparable with better ZIP compressors.
ZIPX format significantly outperformed RAR compression ratio, but compression was twice slower; it even slightly surpassed 7Z compression ratio with twice faster compression time.
ARC (an experimental format introduced by FreeArc) showed impressive results both in terms of speed and compression, providing highest compression slightly outperforming both ZIPX and 7Z in compression ratio, and showing compression times faster than RAR and comparable to fastest ZIP compressors.
In the 7Z group IZArc reached better compression ratio than PeaZip, at cost of slower compression.

best file compression utility benchmark

Compressed size
Compression time (sec) Compression ratio (%)
ZIP, IZArc 4.1.6               53,485,977                         44.3                         37.8
ZIP, PeaZip 3.8 (7z 9.22 64 bit)               51,640,535                         21.4                         36.5
ZIP, WinRar 4.01 64 bit               53,627,998                         12.4                         37.9
ZIP, WinZip 15               53,444,197                         18.7                         37.8
RAR, WinRar 4.01 64 bit               43,817,850                         23.6                         31.0
ZIPX, WinZip 15               38,171,616                         48.7                         27.0
ARC, PeaZip 3.8 (FreeArc 0.666)               37,256,756                         19.5                         26.3
7Z, IZArc 4.1.6               39,029,308                       100.4                         27.6
7Z, PeaZip 3.8 (7z 9.22 64 bit)               39,946,989                         79.5                         28.0

Archive extraction speed, set 1

Classic extraction speed comparison benchmark unarchiving few large files representing various typical data structures.

All archivers completed the test without errors

Extraction benchmark results

ZIP and RAR formats achieved comparably very good extraction times, with exception of IZArc for ZIP format and, to a lessen extent, WinZip for RAR format, that were significantly slower than the average competitors for each group.
ZIPX format showed a strong drawback being very slow in extraction, completely outside the target time for all other formats, with PeaZip being faster than WinZip in ZIPX extraction.
To a lessen extent, also ARC format showed a drawback in terms of extraction speed, being twice slower than 7Z format, but 4-5 times faster than ZIPX.
7Z format extraction was significantly slower than extraction of RAR and ZIP formats on set 1, but faster than extraction of ARC and ZIPX formats, that in compression test had obtained slightly better compression ratio results with faster compression times.

fastest archive extraction utility benchmark

  Extraction time (sec)
ZIP, IZArc 4.1.6                          7.2
ZIP, PeaZip 3.8 (7z 9.22 64 bit)                          2.2
ZIP, WinRar 4                          2.5
ZIP, WinZip 15                          2.8
RAR, IZArc 4.1.6                          2.6
RAR, PeaZip 3.8 (7z 9.22 64 bit)                          2.4
RAR, WinRar 4                          2.4
RAR, WinZip 15                          4.1
ZIPX, PeaZip 3.8.1 (7z 9.22 64 bit)                         44.8
ZIPX, WinZip 15                         52.8
ARC, PeaZip 3.8 (FreeArc 0.666)                         10.8
7Z, IZArc 4.1.6                          5.7
7Z, PeaZip 3.8 (7z 9.22 64 bit)                          5.0
7Z, WinRar 4                          5.1
7Z, WinZip 15                          4.6

Set 2: compress & decompress executables and media

Set 2 is composed by Suite Light 1.6.1program files compression test, installed, containing 125 MB (131464076 bytes) of data in 2277 files and 343 folders.
This set contains various applications for Win32, most common file types are: executables, resource files (icons, graphic), and various types of documentation files; applications are from different developers, so different strategies for space optimization and for resource bundling are used.

This benchmark is meant to tests the ability to efficiently backup and restore a complex nested structure populated by thousands files.
Also, it evaluates the efficiency (in terms of speed and achiveable compression ratio) in dealing with already partially optimized executables, documentation and resources.
In this test, the ability of efficiently handling I/O is fundamental for achieving good speed results, both for compression and extraction.

File compression (speed and ratio), set 2

Benchmark of speed (in the graph, represented by blue square points) and compression ratio (histogram) over a complex nested structure populated by thousands files, including partially optimized executables, documentation and resources.
The ability of efficiently handling I/O is fundamental for achieving good speed results in this test, while the ability of efficiently dealing with partially optimized data is fundamental to improve compression ratio.

IZArc failed creating archives for benchmark set 1, to complete the test as possible with IZArc the directory structure was flattened extracting all files and directories into the same directory.
For WinZip it was necessary to set inclusion of hidden and system files for benchmark set 1 in order to have all the files archived.

Compression benchmark results
ZIP format provided fast compression but lower compression ratio than other archive formats.
IZArc was significantly slower than other compressors in creating a ZIP archive, also WinZip was significantly slower than PeaZip and WinRar (the fastest in ZIP creation); PeaZip provided better compression ratio for ZIP format, with a smaller margin than in set 1.
RAR and ZIPX formats provided a comparable compression ratio on set 2.
RAR compression was faster than ZIPX compression, but not as faster as in set 1.
ZIPX did not show the impressive compression performances reached on set 1: for both RAR and ZIPX compression ratio on set 2 was better than ZIP but worse than ARC and 7Z formats.
ARC compression achieved an impressive result in providing a file marginally larger than the smaller 7Z archive but with a compression speed comparable with fast ZIP compression.
7Z provided strongest compression, IZArc was twice slower than PeaZip in creating a 7Z archive and reached a worse compression level.

data compression utilities benchmark

Compressed size
Compression time (sec) Compression ratio (%)
ZIP, IZArc 4.1.6               67,124,978                         38.3                         51.1
ZIP, PeaZip 3.8 (7z 9.22 64 bit)               66,743,801                         11.9                         50.8
ZIP, WinRar 4.01 64 bit               67,725,167                          9.4                         51.5
ZIP, WinZip 15               67,704,790                         20.4                         51.5
RAR, WinRar 4.01 64 bit               60,443,190                         35.2                         46.0
ZIPX, WinZip 15               60,509,496                         41.1                         46.0
ARC, PeaZip 3.8 (FreeArc 0.666)               52,112,604                         14.8                         39.6
7Z, IZArc 4.1.6               57,318,306                         84.5                         43.6
7Z, PeaZip 3.8 (7z 9.22 64 bit)               50,270,446                         41.0                         38.2

Archive extraction speed, set 2

Benchmark of extraction speed of a complex nested structure populated by thousands files: the ability of efficiently handling I/O is fundamental for achieving good results in this test over pre decompression speed.

All archivers completed the test without errors

Extraction benchmark results
Set 2 extraction was significantly slower than set 1 due to the heavy I/O communication with system to create more than 2000 output files.
Average extraction times for various formats are more uniform than in set 1 extraction test, as in this test for the extraction software the efficiency in handling I/O communication is more important than optimization of extraction speed itself, so the system's responsivity equalizes many of the extraction speed differences between various formats and various utilities noticed on set 1.
In this test RAR format, especially with WinRar, shows generally lower extraction times than other formats including ZIP.

fastest extraction speed benchmark

  Extraction time (sec)
ZIP, IZArc 4.1.6                         32.6
ZIP, PeaZip 3.8 (7z 9.22 64 bit)                         30.1
ZIP, WinRar 4                         27.2
ZIP, WinZip 15                         34.6
RAR, IZArc 4.1.6                         28.2
RAR, PeaZip 3.8 (7z 9.22 64 bit)                         30.9
RAR, WinRar 4                         25.2
RAR, WinZip 15                         30.0
ZIPX, PeaZip 3.8.1 (7z 9.22 64 bit)                         31.5
ZIPX, WinZip 15                         36.2
ARC, PeaZip 3.8 (FreeArc 0.666)                         31.0
7Z, IZArc 4.1.6                         30.2
7Z, PeaZip 3.8 (7z 9.22 64 bit)                         33.9
7Z, WinRar 4                         32.7
7Z, WinZip 15                         32.1


Data compression speed, maximum compression ratio


Best compression results by archive format

ZIP format provides lower compression in all sets, but often shows an important speed advantage on most of other formats (when evaluating fastest applications) providing the fastest compression.
Optimized ZIP compression in PeaZip (provided by 7z backend) consistently achieves a significant advantage in compression ratio mantaining a competitive speed.
RAR format shows a clear and consistent advantage in terms of compression ratio over ZIP, with a moderate decrease of speed.
ZIPX format is slower than RAR in all sets. In terms of compression ratio, in ideal conditions (set 1), it can be a good match even for 7Z and ARC, but in other conditions (set 2) it provides a compression ratio comparable to RAR.
7Z format and the experimental ARC format provide overall the best compression ratio, with ARC worthing being noticed for excellent compression speed comparable with ZIP format.

Best compression results by application

IZArc achieves slowest speed in ZIP format, providing an average compression level. In 7Z format IZArc was slower than PeaZip in both sets, providing better compression ratio in set 1 and worse in set 2.
WinRar scores fastest ZIP compression, and with RAR format compression it reaches improved compression ratio at a reasonable cost in terms of speed.
WinZip performs on average in terms of speed and compression ratio for ZIP format. With ZIPX format WinZip provides a slower but in some cases better compressor than RAR.
PeaZip provides best ZIP compression level preserving an average speed. With 7Z format PeaZip achieves higher compression ratio than RAR and ZIPX, at cost of lower speed. The experimental ARC format is very promising as it provides both high compression ratio and high compression speed.

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Decompression and archive extraction speed

Best performances by archive format
RAR format shows to be a good match even for ZIP format in terms of fastest extraction speed, an excellent result because RAR consistently provides a better compression ratio than ZIP.
7Z format extraction is slower than RAR and ZIP ones, but this factor is balanced by the decisive advantages of 7Z over ZIP and RAR in terms of compression ratio.
ARC format is impressive for its compression efficiency, both in terms of speed and ratio, but extraction is significantly slower than 7Z format on set 1 where pure extraction performances are more relevant (difference is lower on set 2).
In the same situation, in set 1 ZIPX format extraction shows to be extremely slow, while being only marginally slower than 7Z on set 2.

Best performances by application
IZArc provides significantly slower ZIP extraction than the average of other competitors, but achieves average extraction times for RAR and 7Z formats, especially on set 2.
WinRar is consistently amongst fastest extractors, with noticeably good results on ZIP and RAR format in set 2.
WinZip shows good extraction speed for 7Z format, but is consistently slower than PeaZip extracting ZIPX format.
It is also significantly slower than the average of competitors extracting RAR format in set 1, and ZIP format in set 2.
PeaZip is consistently faster than WinZip on ZIPX extraction, and on average for other formats, with proportionally better results in set 1 (where pure extraction speed is more relevant) rather than in set 2.

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