Well it is sort of like asking what is the best car to drive. A lot depends on you requirements, budget, experience, etc... Since Acresso is of your budget Wise will also be too high for you. So here are some:
These should keep you busy for a while.....
Now my next question is what types of packages should one learn to use (.msi, batch, swd,..) as a beginner? Which is best so I can get a general idea of how software packaging works?
(I guess I should have asked this first before my previous question on a recommendation of MSI creators)
First thing to keep in mind is that packaging is pretty much more art than science. It is a experience based skill, and even though MSI is probably the defacto standard, not all developers follow standards. You will get packages from developers that do not work well, and your users will want them fixed by you
I would start with MSIs since by percentage this is probably what you will receive the most. It is like a toolbox, you will need multiple tools to do your job, MSI tools, scripting tools, etc... Stay away from repackaging when you can (snapshots, etc...) and this should be your last resort.
I have not tried this but it looks promising:
and a good site for packaging. http://www.appdeploy.com/