10 best tools and commands to compress and decompress files in Linux

Compressed files are quite common on the internet because they make it easier to share large files. In Linux, we are lucky to have many tools that help us to compress and decompress files in a fast and easy efficient way. In this post, we will tell you in list form which are the best tools for this.

10 best tools for compress and decompress files

1) 7Zip

One of the best is 7Zip. This application has earned it thanks to its ease of use and the inclusion of its compression format. This format wants to rival alternatives like ZIP or RAR.

7-Zip is free software with open source. Most of the code is under the GNU LGPL license. Some parts of the code are under the BSD 3-clause License.

The installation of 7zip is quite simple and we invite you to read our post dedicated to this tool.

2) PeaZip

Another program that incorporates a new compression format is PeaZip.

PeaZip is a free file archiver utility, based on Open Source technologies of 7-Zip, p7zip, Brotli, FreeArc, PAQ, Zstandard, and PEA projects.

One of the things that makes PeaZip a solid alternative is that it is cross-platform so Windows users can run it and ease their transition to Linux.

Also, we’ve talked about PeaZip in a dedicated post.

3) Zip

Now it is time to talk about the zip command that allows us to create archives in the classic ZIP format.

It is one of the best-known tools available because it is included by default in many distributions such as Linux Mint.

This command is quite simple to use but has many options that help us to create the files.

To help you with the use of this command, you can read this post.

4) The Unzip command

We already have the tool for the creation of ZIP files but now we are missing the complement which is to decompress them.

For this, we also have the unzip command which works in a very similar way to other options with the addition that it works only with this format. Although it may not always be installed by default, it is quite easy to install and use.

5) Tar

The TAR format is perhaps the most widely used by Linux sysadmins as it is an almost immediately supported format.

To work with TAR files, we have the command of the same name with which we can compress and decompress files quickly and with a high compression rate.

This tool is essential in the daily work with any distribution. You can find the package in the official repositories of any of them.

6) XZ

The XZ format is a fairly new compression format that may not be on many older UNIX systems. However, it is the preferred format for large file sizes, as it offers the best compression rates, at the cost of increased resource consumption and time,

With this command, you can compress and decompress files in this format via the console and it is an ideal tool for many situations.

7) Gzip

If you work with a lot of Unix/Linux family systems, you might want to use gzip. This tool provides a compression rate very similar to zip but with better interoperability. That’s why Apache applications can use it in web projects.

On Linux systems, this compression tool is usually installed automatically or is ready to be installed in the package management system.

8) bzip2

This utility is very similar to the gzip program. The main difference is that it uses a different compression algorithm called the Burrows-Wheeler block-sorting text compression algorithm and Huffman encoding.

This format, although widely used, has the disadvantage that it takes a little longer to process the file and this does not imply a higher compression rate.

9) Rar / Unrar

Rar is a proprietary compression format that has become very popular in Windows because it is linked to the WinRAR program.

As a compression format, it is quite competent and has quite acceptable compression rates, and is very popular on all systems. The problem with Linux is licensing, as there is a free version for Linux but the package is proprietary and is not included in installations.

In case you don’t mind the licensing issue, it is a very valid alternative.

On Linux, the rar and unrar packages can be installed on many Linux distributions but it is proprietary and not open source.

10 ACE

The ACE compression format is a well-known alternative to RAR, but it is still possible to use it on Linux.

However, it is a proprietary format that requires a license to use it fully. Therefore many users avoid using it.


Compressing / Decompressing files in Linux is possible thanks to certain tools that allow you to perform the operations according to your needs. In this post, we have shown you the best tools for working with different compressed file formats.

If you know any other file compression/decompression tool, you can name it in the comments. Do you dare?

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