Stuffit Expander 2009 review

Stuffit Expander has been the Mac’s default dearchiver for a very long time. So long, in fact, that it’s beginning to look redundant. OS X now has ZIP compression built in – enabling you to create and extract archives without having to use any third part application. Meanwhile, free tools like Zipeg ( can handle all those other tricky file types – like RAR and TAR, GZIP and CAB.

Stuffit Deluxe, retailing at £29.99 (or £49.99 for the new 2009 version) is also starting to seem overpriced – especially when there are tools such as iArchiver on the market for half that price. Still, Stuffit Expander – the free extraction tool remains a useful application to have on your machine. Not least because it’s the only tool that can reliably extract all Stuffit archive formats and Binhex files. In addition it can handle a long list of other archive formats, including all of those mentioned so far.

You don’t get to survive as long as Stuffit without picking up a few tricks along the way either. The application itself has a surprisingly spritely looking drag-and-drop front end, with built-in disk image mounting, virus scanning and the ability to map different file types to different archiving applications. Very generous. You can also set archives to extract to user-defined folders in preference to the default – which is the same place as the original archive.


SmithMicro, the makers of Stuffit, don’t give away the Expander free for ideological reasons. They give it away to enhance the value of their commercial products. It’s a savvy move and one that’s worked for many years. If you have one extraction tool on your machine, it might as well be Stuffit Expander – it handles most archive formats, looks great and works unobtrusively. As for archiving files, though, you don’t really need this functionality – your Mac does that job pretty well all on its own.

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