The F-402 is the pen that sits in between Zebra’s F-301 and F-701 in the company’s Steel Series pen line up. It’s a common EDC (everyday carry) ballpoint pen thanks to its comfortable grip and nice weight.
The Zebra F-402 is a mid-level pen in the Steel series, which means it has more metal parts than the F-301 but less then the F-701 ballpoints. All the parts of the F-402 are metal, but the pen does have a rubber grip. This is seen by some as an advantage over the knurling on the F-701, but even so the F-701 is a much more popular pen.
The F-402 is a ballpoint pen that is not sold in any variants — change the pen, change the name is Zebra’s philosophy. The equivalent model with Zebra’s gel ink has classically been the G-402 but in 2021 the Zebra G-450 was released. The G-450 brought improved looks, an all-black paint job, and better grip. The G-450 quickly became a popular choice for gel pen fans, but there was no F-450 (which would have been the ballpoint equivalent) released, so ballpoint fans have had to stick with the trust F-402.
F-402 vs. F-301
The F-402 is a good deal larger than the F-301, which is too small of a pen for many people. The additional weight and diameter of the F-402 makes it a good deal more comfortable then the F-301 despite the 4 series being more expensive.
Having owned F-402’s for many years, I have to say I’m a fan of this pen. This model is trustworthy, and is always ready to write despite the conditions.
Typically I prefer the F-701, but the rubber grip of the F-402 is comfortable and is sometimes better, particularly if you are wearing gloves or using the pen in very cold weather, where the metal grip of the F-701 suffers relative to a rubberized surface.
I’ve found the F-402 to be a nice size and weight — not too heavy, but it definitely has a good heft to it. And the build quality is very good, but the click isn’t the best, as it can feel a little sloppy and has some of that metal-on-metal feel which lets you remember why the pen costs just $5 or so.
Now that it’s 2021 and Zebra has released pens like the G-750 and G-450, it’s clear that the brushed steel styling of the F-402 and the other original Steel Series pens appears to be quite dated. This pen seems very early-2000s in its styling and while its functionality is unquestionable, it’s lacking in style.
The pen is a good writer, thanks to a simple, dependable ballpoint refill, but it has some shortcomings as well. The refill is a proprietary design — not a Parker-style like you’d expect in a pen this size — and it’s not particularly super smooth. The lack of smooth writing is actually not a major problem because while the pen may suffer at writing for extended period of time on paper, this ink is good at working on a huge variety of surfaces, particularly when you are out and about or working on-the-go. This is a major advantage of an EDC pen, which is what this ballpoint is best at.
Zebra F-402 Stainless Steel Retractable Ballpoint Pen Information
|Street Price||Check Price|
|Barrel Material||Stainless Steel|
|Body Diameter (mm)||10.5 mm|
|Grip Diameter (mm)||10.5 mm|
|Country of Origin||Japan|
|Capped? Retractable?||Retractable - Top Button|
|Length Capped / Retracted (cm)||13.3|
|Weight (g)||19 grams|
|Ink Color Shipped||Black|