Free ZIP Programs

Software Review

Free ZIP Program Comparison!

Free ZIP Programs - OK, OK, I know, WinZIP, PKZip and StuffIt are powerful ZIP tools with tons of wonderfully superfluous features. But come on! How many compression formats do we really need? Also, they're all pretty expensive at $30. For your occasional compression and manual data backup needs, the software below should be perfectly adequate - and totally free is good too!

BTW, if you are using ZIP programs to backup up your data, you might want to look in our free Backup Software roundup. Those programs are designed to work invisibly backing up your data so that you never have to remember to do it manually. If your data has already been corrupted and the cause is simply deleted files or corrupt files, you might want to check out our roundup of free Data Recovery Software. This could save you a bundle over the commercial services by companies like "DiskDoctors" and "InterData". (Who are still useful for serious hard disk failure resulting from physical damage.)

JustZIPit
justzipit zip tool
simple, powerful, lightweight, the cute girl

JustZIPit is the extreme height of simplicity - it has no interface at all besides a progress bar. Just right-click a file in Explorer and select "JustZIPit" from the context-menu. That's all you need to know in order to use this little zip program!

Simple but powerful! JustZIPit is blazingly fast and invisibly integrates full ZIP-64 technology to easily handle the most massive ZIPs. JustZIPit is not limited like most ZIP programs - when JustZIPit is building a ZIP file, if it detects that an archive will not fit into the standard ZIP-32 size, it automatically switches to ZIP-64 and keeps going. You won't even know that it's there - but you can safely ZIP up the entire contents of the Library of Congress if you're bored. ;)

JustZIPit is a simple, powerful and completely free ZIP program - want some fries with that?

  • Free for Personal Use
  • Free for Organizations
  • No Adware/Spyware
  • View Files before Unzipping
  • Supports ZIP-64 (huge ZIPs)
  • ZIP Context Command
  • ZIP-to-Email Command
  • Self-Extracting Archives
  • Password Encryption
  • Non-ZIP Formats

I just adore this little ZIP program - it's all about hiding the power in a "get out of my way" design.

CAM UnZIP
CAM UnZIP zip tool
medium powered, full-featured, a little kludgy

Cam UnZip was fairly easy to use, the interface is not as professional as WinZIP, but pretty full featured - not my favorite freeware ZIP program but adequate for most ZIP-creation needs.

Although I find this type of ZIP program a little bit cluttered, CAM UnZIP seems pretty solid. No Spyware, no adware, and it's totally free (but donations are invited.) Strangely, I had the hardest time finding a link on their website to actually download the program. It's there on the left panel of their home-page, just keep searching (or click the link download link here. ;)

  • Free for Personal Use
  • Free for Organizations
  • No Adware/Spyware
  • View Files before Unzipping
  • Supports ZIP-64 (huge ZIPs)
  • ZIP Context Command
  • ZIP-to-Email Command
  • Self-Extracting Archives
  • Password Encryption
  • Non-ZIP Formats

Overall, I found CAMZip to be a fairly good ZIP program if you need a WinZIP replacement.

BigSpeed Zipper
BigSpeed Zipper zip tool
very interesting, fairly powerful, off-the-wall features

BigSpeed Zipper is one of those ZIP programs hard to easily quantify. Sure it's got the basic features, and it's a little weak on some features I think are important... but then it has so many other features that I've never even thought of! I'm still trying to figure out the usefulness of some of them. For example, you can view the contents of a ZIP file online BEFORE downloading. Now that's kind of cool!

As far as interface goes, it's pretty non-standard, but then sometimes a non-standard interface is the result of really cool features that would not fit into a normal interface. (Although usually, it's just because of bad design.) You go ahead and make up your own mind, its totally free either way.

  • Free for Personal Use
  • Free for Organizations
  • No Adware/Spyware
  • View Files before Unzipping
  • Supports ZIP-64 (huge ZIPs)
  • ZIP Context Command
  • ZIP-to-Email Command
  • Self-Extracting Archives
  • Password Encryption
  • Non-ZIP Formats

Overall, I was intrigued by BigSpeed's innovation and liked what I saw, but the program is still a little bit clunky for regular ZIP work. I also want to see context menu commands!

Optimal Archive
Optimal Archive zip tool
full-featured, solid features, intrusive advertising

When I first read the specs on Optimal Archive, I was pretty excited. It reminded me of an old favorite of my "ZIPMagic" - which made ZIP files appear as if they were folders. Well, Optimal Archive has a lot of the same capabilities. It's a very powerful piece of software, despite support for non-ZIP formats such as TAR, ARJ, and RAR. ;)

On the other hand, I'm not sure I would classify it as freeware. It's not that it installs noxious adware or spyware, but rather it is itself an advertisement. Every time you use it you have to click through an advertising screen, which gets old really fast.

  • Free for Personal Use
  • Free for Organizations
  • No Adware/Spyware
  • View Files before Unzipping
  • Supports ZIP-64 (huge ZIPs)
  • ZIP Context Command
  • ZIP-to-Email Command
  • Self-Extracting Archives
  • Password Encryption
  • Non-ZIP Formats

If it were not for the intrusive advertising, Optimal Archive would have been a great ZIP program. As it is, I don't think I'll be using Optimal despite its many fine features.

7-ZIP
7-ZIP zip tool
WOW! - full-featured, powerful, innovative

7-Zip is finally starting to get the fame it deserves. This freeware ZIP program is the only one in it's pack to really push the bar on technology. Although 7-Zip is best known for its support of high-compression non-ZIP technology (7Z), it also does a better job than WinZIP or PKZip on regular ZIP compression! Check out their compression comparison chart on their home page: 7-zip.org.

I still found their browsing interface a bit of a kludge, but they have provided an "Add to Archive" command on the context menu which makes it pretty simple to ZIP up any folder. Also, not all ZIP tools support creating of SFX (self-extracting) files but this one does. 7-Zip will automatically use its superior 7Z compression in the SFX files -- resulting in a compact package that literally slaughters the competition (WinZIP SFX Maker ~ $60). In this case, the free app is far superior to the commercial app. Well done 7-Zip!

If you want technical support, you will have to register it for about US $20 but otherwise the program is unrestricted and contains no intrusive advertising. 7-ZIP can also create TAR files just in case you ever need to kill a mastodon.

  • Free for Personal Use
  • Free for Organizations
  • No Adware/Spyware
  • View Files before Unzipping
  • Supports ZIP-64 (huge ZIPs)
  • ZIP Context Command
  • ZIP-to-Email Command
  • Self-Extracting Archives
  • Password Encryption
  • Non-ZIP Formats

Overall, 7-Zip is my favorite power-user ZIP program -- and if you need to create compact SFX files, a must-have app!

ZIPGenius
ZIPGenius winzip tool
Too full-featured, powerful but confused

ZIPGenius is a perfect example of a program that mis-diagnosis the problem. The problem is not that WinZIP is too expensive, it's too cluttered with unnecessary functionality! But if you love the clutter, you'll love ZIPGenius even more. I have never seesn a program demostrate such a capability for "feature creep".

ZIPGenius' ZIP features are really solid with great security measures, 7-ZIP format support, built-in SFX support, ZIP-64 support etc. Also included are image viewing features, twain (scanner) management, a slide-show builder, support for OpenOffice documents, multi-language, CD-R writing, FTP uploading, and pretty much everything else but a kitchen sink (which they promise to include the next update!).

  • Free for Personal Use
  • Free for Organizations
  • No Adware/Spyware
  • View Files before Unzipping
  • Supports ZIP-64 (huge ZIPs)
  • ZIP Context Command
  • ZIP-to-Email Command
  • Self-Extracting Archives
  • Password Encryption
  • Non-ZIP Formats

ZIPGenius is really a vast project - and seems to be very well executed - but I personally do not like software that tries to be everything.

IZArc
IZArc winzip tool
Powerful, simple, decent interface

IZArc support a ton of compression formats. Just look at this impressive list of acronyms: 7-ZIP, A, ACE, ARC, ARJ, B64, BH, BZ2, BZA, CAB, CPIO, DEB, ENC, GCA, GZ, GZA, HA, JAR, LHA, LIB, LZH, MBF, MIM, PAK, PK3, RAR, RPM, TAR, TAZ, TBZ, TGZ, TZ, UUE, WAR, XXE, YZ1, Z, ZIP, ZOO.

IZArc also has good AES encryption for those who need it and best of all, it has a pretty darned good interface -- not to cluttered but rather straightforward! I'm pretty impressed. (I was NOT impressed with their website's interface however. How does that work?)

  • Free for Personal Use
  • Free for Organizations
  • No Adware/Spyware
  • View Files before Unzipping
  • Supports ZIP-64 (huge ZIPs)
  • ZIP Context Command
  • ZIP-to-Email Command
  • Self-Extracting Archives
  • Password Encryption
  • Non-ZIP Formats

Overall, IZArc is a great power-user ZIP program -- an excellent WinZIP replacement!

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