2018

Best File Compression Format to Reduce File Size

1
9
Ranking
TOP
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
File extension:
.7z
.b1
.arc
.tar.gz
.zipx
.rar
.tar.bz2
.zip
.pea
Score
  • Overall
  • JPG
  • PDF
  • Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
  • MP3
  • Video
  • Exe
  • Mix of All Above Files
9.33
8.70
7.97
3.85
3.47
2.98
2.70
2.64
2.62
10
9.36
9.96
0.21
3.89
0.17
0.17
0.21
0.21
10
10
9.98
0.32
0.29
0.32
0.64
0.32
0.32
10
10
9.99
0.30
0.30
0.30
0.91
0.30
0.30
10
10
9.99
5.78
6.96
6.41
7.23
5.75
5.66
10
10
9.97
2.07
2.50
2.45
2.24
2.05
2
10
8.06
1.94
8.06
3.98
6.02
6.02
6.02
6.02
10
7.43
9.89
0.18
0.18
0.18
0.18
0.18
0.18
3.97
3.97
0
7.95
10
10
5.96
7.95
7.95
10
9.52
10
9.76
3.09
0.95
0.95
0.95
0.95
JPG
File Size Reduction
50.32%
47.09%
50.1%
1.07%
19.56%
0.86%
0.86%
1.07%
1.07%
PDF
File Size Reduction
91.86%
91.86%
91.66%
2.92%
2.69%
2.92%
5.84%
2.92%
2.92%
Word
File Size Reduction
91.86%
91.84%
91.76%
2.77%
2.77%
2.77%
8.33%
2.77%
2.77%
Excel
File Size Reduction
98.65%
98.65%
98.52%
57.05%
68.65%
63.2%
71.29%
56.7%
55.84%
PowerPoint
File Size Reduction
86.93%
86.93%
86.64%
17.99%
21.77%
21.33%
19.44%
17.85%
17.41%
MP3
File Size Reduction
1.03%
0.83%
0.2%
0.83%
0.41%
0.62%
0.62%
0.62%
0.62%
Video
File Size Reduction
47.98%
35.63%
47.47%
0.84%
0.84%
0.84%
0.84%
0.84%
0.84%
Exe
File Size Reduction
0.6%
0.6%
0%
1.2%
1.51%
1.51%
0.9%
1.2%
1.2%
Mix of All Above Files
File Size Reduction
27.45%
26.14%
27.45%
26.79%
8.49%
2.61%
2.61%
2.61%
2.61%

Overview

We tested all popular file archiving and compression formats to find which type is better to reduce file size for a big group of different files and for some popular file extensions (JPG, PDF ..).

Archiving versus Compression

Archiving: groups many files into a single one. The size of archive will remain the same.
Compression: reduces the size of file(s).

Archiving + Compression: is what you are talking about, programs that will archive and compress files in the same time. Often, these programs are called only file archivers or file compression software (WinRAR, WinZip ..), but in fact all are making both tasks: archiving and compression.

Most Popular File Archiving and Compression Formats Used Today

.zip is the most popular, followed by .rar and .7z. Most popular doesn't mean is the best. .zip archives can be created with any specialized software, including free ones.

.rar archives can be created only by a few programs (WinRAR), because is a proprietary license (paid).

All file compression programs are able to extract all mentioned archives.

About .tar Format

.tar is only an archive containing multiple files, without being compressed. For example, when we put multiple JPG images in a .tar archive, the size of .tar file will be the same as all contained images.

.bz2 and .gz versus .tar.bz2 and .tar.gz

.bz2 and .gz can compress only a single file at once.

To create archives with multiple files, first we need to archive them in .tar format, then we compress this single .tar archive with .bz2 or .gz and will result archives like tar.bz2 and tar.gz

Benefits of Using the Right File Format That Makes Archive Smaller

  • upload or send files faster, including messengers, email,  Dropbox etc.
  • free up hard disk space
  • save time (when we copy archive from one folder to another, upload or send archives through internet)
  • reduce costs (e.g if you upload files on cloud servers or storage spaces like Dropbox, Google Drive etc. where you could pay for extra storage space)

Methodology

For each file format we tried to use the default software to generate that kind of archive. We used the following programs:

  • .rar - WinRAR
  • .zip - WinZip
  • .zipx - WinZip
  • .7z - 7-Zip
  • .tar.gz - PeaZip
  • .arc - PeaZip
  • .tar.bz2 (BZip2) - PeaZip
  • .pea - PeaZip
  • .b1 - B1 Free Archiver

We created different archives using all popular file formats present on all computers:  JPG, PDF, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, videos, high quality MP3 audio files, games, software programs.

Takeaways

.7z is the best format to create an archive and to reduce the size at maximum. There are many programs able to create this type of archive and almost all are able to extract the files. See a list with best free and paid programs and their supported extensions to create or extract different archives on this page. You can use programs like Bandizip, PeaZip or 7-Zip.

The only file type where .7z extension isn't very good at reducing file size is .exe (executable program). For .exe files, .rar and .zipx formats are the best.

To reduce file size of .exe files at maximum you can use Bandizip to create .zipx archives or WinRAR (paid) to create .rar. Or you can use the popular .zip format to archive .exe files, with a pretty good file size reduction.

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