Pens and Pencils | Reviews and Data

Zebra F-402 Stainless Steel Retractable Ballpoint Pen

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.

F-402 Ballpoint

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.

F-402 Review

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
Manufacturer Zebra
Pen Type Ballpoint
Barrel Color Silver
Barrel Material Stainless Steel
Body Diameter (mm)10.5 mm
Grip Color Black
Grip Material Rubber
Grip Diameter (mm)10.5 mm
Country of Origin Japan
MSRP $3.50
Still Sold Yes
Similar To
Capped? Retractable?Retractable - Top Button
Length Capped / Retracted (cm)13.3
Weight (g)19 grams
Ink Color ShippedBlack