WAV vs. FLAC Comparison – Which is Better?


By Jack

Update on


If you make a comparison between WAV vs. FLAC, you will come across plenty of information.

Both of those formats come with different features and advantages. Because of that, deciding on FLAC or WAV better can be very hard for any individual.

The content of this article will explain the features and uniqueness of each of those file formats. You can go through this information and decide which is better. Both FLAC and WAV, as you may already know, are audio file formats that are used widely.

Choosing the right kind of audio format to listen to quality music can be challenging. This is true particularly when you want to listen to top-quality digital music with crisp sounds.

There are many types of audio file formats, and each of those file types comes with different features.

WAV vs. FLAC | Explaining the Types of Audio Formats

At a glance, it can be hard to notice any difference between different audio file formats. However, if you do some research, it is not impossible to detect those differences and choose the best option.

The main problem in differentiating file formats is the complex terminologies used. These terminologies are hardly used in everyday conversations.

So, you can’t make a proper comparison between WAV vs. FLAC if you don’t know those terminologies. As we go on, we will explain those terminologies step-by-step.

WAV vs. FLAC | a Comparison of Pros and Cons

It is always better to start off with a comparison of Pros and Cons before determining which is better.

Well, FLAC is the abbreviation used to determine the term Free Lossless Audio Codec. The term Lossless explains that it lets you compress uncompressed audio files into FLAC with no quality loss.

That means the original sound quality of the file will retain even after compressing it to a FLAC file. In addition to that, FLAC offers the option of tagging as well. It is the process of changing an audio file’s information related to the album, composer, and other details.

The term WAV is the abbreviation that represents Waveform Audio File Format. And, it is developed by IBM and Microsoft specifically to store audio streams on personal computers. Compared to FLAC, WAV is an uncompressed file format.

In other words, WAV can be considered as the exact replica of the original audio file.

ProsExcellent quality of soundIt works on pretty much all the media players
It is an open-source file formatVery easy to edit and do modifications
It works perfectly with all types of modern playersHas unlimited samples rates and bit-depth
ConsLimited bit-depth and sample ratesRelatively large file compared to FLAC format
It is not compatible with all the devicesThey come in a proprietary file format

WAV vs. FLAC | Terminology When Determining FLAC or WAV Better 

Now, let’s take a look at the terminology that could be handy when determining what is better.

● Lossy/Lossless

If you experience a quality loss when compressing a particular file to another, that’s a “lossy” file format. On the other hand, “Lossless” files retain the original file quality even when it is compressed. Well, both WAV and FLAC files are categorized as lossless files.

Therefore, you cannot determine the better file format considering “Lossy/Lossless” files. So, the question “FLAC or WAV better?” remains until you read the rest of this article.


● Compressed/Uncompressed

The decision between WAV vs. FLAC also means that you decide to choose a compressed or an uncompressed format. In fact, one of the most significant differences between the two file formats is this compressed/uncompressed aspect.

Well, as mentioned before, WAV is a 100% similar replica of the original file regardless of the format. However, FLAC files are compressed files, so they can be stored in a smaller space.

Also, FLAC doesn’t lose a noticeable quality even when compressing the original audio file. That said, if you are concerned about the storage factor, FLAC will be the better option. FLAC files can compress source files by up to a whopping 60%.

● Sample Rate/Bit Depth

If you want to learn how the audio formats work, you must understand Sample Rate and Bit Depth. Both of these aspects define how accurately a particular sound is digitally recorded with good quality.

We don’t expect to define these elements in complex technical terms. Instead, we should put it simply. The greater the values of bit depth and sample rate, the better the quality of the respective video.

The sample rate is measured either in Hertz or Kilohertz. The bit rate, on the other hand, is measured in bits. The term “Sample Rate” means how frequently the respective rendering application samples the given audio file (per second).

Let’s assume that you have an audio file with a sample rate of 48kHz (which is relatively low quality). That means the respective file will be sampled 48,000 times per second by the rendering software. So, for a 194kHz audio file, it is 194,000 times per second.

Information on audio files will be drawn by the rendering software at certain bit levels. For instance, the rendering software may draw information at 8-, 16-, 24-, or 32-bit rates.

As you can realize, reading information at a 32-bit rate is much better than with an 8-bit rate.

So, what happens when it comes to comparing WAV vs. FLAC based on this aspect? Since WAV files remain uncompressed, they don’t lose any quality, but they want more space to be saved.

However, when it comes to FLAC, they may lose a very little amount of quality. But you cannot notice such an instance to the naked ear. In other words, the quality loss in FLAC is negligible.

● Free/Open-Source

In this case, FLAC could be named the winner. That is because it is an open-source file format and can be modified freely. When it comes to WAV, that is not an open-source format, and Microsoft holds its patent.

WAV vs. FLAC - Free/Open-Source

On the other hand, you cannot say that WAV should be completely neglected because of this aspect. If you don’t want to use the WAV file format, you can convert that into a FLAC file.

You can do it with a reliable audio/video converter such as Wondershare UniConverter easily and experience the same audio quality. It is true that UniConverter is a video converter, but it can convert audio files as well.

As of today, it can be the most reliable and convenient way to convert audio files from one to another.

● Storage

When you compare WAV vs. FLAC, the latter clearly occupies less space compared to the former. That is particularly because FLAC files are compressed. WAV files take more space, and when it comes to transferring or downloading files, they take more time.

So, those who prefer quick transferring or downloading of audio files may find WAV to be slightly troublesome.

WAV vs. FLAC - Storage

Frequently Asked Questions:

We cannot determine which is better at a glance. However, when it comes to the file size factor, FLAC is better because it is small.

Both WAV and FLAC are lossless audio files. In addition to that, AIFF offers similar quality. So, you cannot choose one over the other unless the file size matters to you.

It is true that WAV and FLAC are considered to be lossless audio file formats. So, no quality loss can be expected during the conversion process.

If you use a professional converter like Wondershare UniConverter, the process will be significantly easier.

Other lossless audio formats include ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec) and APE (Monkey’s Audio).

Most modern smartphones can play both WAV and FLAC files. However, due to the large file sizes, it’s not common to store such files on a smartphone.

How to Convert FLAC to WAV and Vice Versa 

For many individuals, deciding on FLAC or WAV better is not that easy, even after the above comparison. In fact, the decision might depend on the situation. So, in some cases, you may prefer WAV over FLAC or vice versa.

As we have mentioned before, you can always convert FLAC to WAV or the other way around. If you have ever come across such a requirement, using the correct type of tool is mandatory. That is why we rely on a tool like Wondershare UniConverter.

This tool allows you to convert any audio file into another with easy steps, such as converting YouTube to FLAC. In addition to that, the best thing is that it doesn’t cause any quality loss.

It is true that there is no shortage of options to convert audio files to different formats. However, choosing the right kind of tool is a must if you expect better sound quality. This is exactly when a professional tool like UniConverter comes in handy.

This application is compatible with both Windows and macOS. That means you can access this application from a PC or a Mac without any trouble. This special tool can convert more than 1,000 video and audio file formats without losing the original quality.

Compared to other video converters, this is a huge number. In addition to that, it allows you to add subtitles and various other effects to videos. Basically, it is a highly versatile tool with a massive capacity that can convert video and audio files faster.


Features of Wondershare UniConverter

Here are some of the best features of this tool.

  • It is compatible with more than 1,000 media formats, including FLAC and WAV.
  • Edit videos and add additional effects.
  • It can crop, trim, rotate, add watermarks to videos and perform various other tasks.
  • You can use it to transfer files between different devices through a USB connection.
  • It is compatible with the batch conversion process.
  • There is a toolbox with plenty of additional functions. It has a GIF maker, CD burner, image converter, and so many other features.
  • Compatible with both Windows and macOS.

Steps to Convert Audio Files using Wondershare UniConverter

Here are the steps you can follow to convert audio files successfully using UniConverter.

  • Download and install UniConverter on your app. Then, launch it and click on the Audio Converter. After that, click on the import icon so you can import the WAV file to the interface.
Wondershare UniConverter
  • Now, you should see a gear icon next to the WAV file you have uploaded. Click on it and choose an output format. You can also set the parameters like quality, output file, bit-rate, etc. then click on “Create” to complete the process. If not, you can do it by using the button labeled “Output Format.” Then, you should select “Audio” and then go to “FLAC” and choose the desired quality.
Wondershare UniConverter Output Format
  • Now that all the settings are configured, you should click on the option “Convert to Start.” If not, you can click on “Start All” to get a batch conversion done. You can locate the converted files under the tab labeled “Finished.”
Wondershare UniConverter - Convert to Start

So, that’s all about WAV vs. FLAC comparison and how to convert audio files.


Ten years of experience in information and computer technology. Passionate about electronic devices, smartphones, computers, and modern technology.