Zebra F-701 Ballpoint Pen Review

The Zebra F-701 has always been one of the most popular ballpoint pens. Then, Zebra upgraded the design and made a great pen even better. In this Zebra F-701 review, we compare it to other ballpoints and the other Zebra ballpoints.  

The Zebra’s F-701 is a metal pen with a knurled grip and a 0.88 fine point tip. It’s always been a bestseller, because of the pigmented ink and how the tip doesn’t block the view of the letters.

However, the old version had a plastic clicking mechanism, internal threading, and top barrel. It felt and looked flimsy.  So, pen aficionados would use the F-701 refill with the Zebra F-401 hardware—a hack that was so popular that the manufacturer combined the two in their new design.

The new F-701 uses professional-grade stainless steel from its clip to the tip. It’s part of the Zebra Steel 7 series, which is their top-of-the-line ballpoint pens. The line also has a tactical ballpoint, mechanical pencil, permanent marker, and pen and pencil set.

Compared to the budget line (Steel 3), and a quality line (Steel 4), Steel 7 also has a sleeker, more stylish shape that’s ideal for executives and professionals.

Holding a stainless Steel ballpoint pen

Table of Contents

Is the Zebra F-701 for you?

Ballpoint pens may not have the very rich ink pigments of rollerballs or the old-school feel of fountain pens. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t get a quality ballpoint that looks expensive and gives a steady flow of ink. (We are so tired of ballpoints that skip!)

The Zebra F-701 is one of those high-quality entry-level pens. Its all-metal body looks very sleek, and it has the vibe of an “executive pen.” It feels durable in the hand, even more than some $50 pens.

Writing with the Zebra F-701

The Zebra F-701 is a perfect “everyday pen.” It’s designed for people who have to take a lot of notes very quickly. The ink flows well, and the well-constructed tip won’t block the letters as you write.

We would also recommend this pen to someone who wants a more environmentally-friendly alternative to plastic disposable pens. You can use this for years, and get packs of refills. But if you accidentally lose it, you won’t feel bad about spending less than $8 for a replacement.

What We Like About the Zebra F-701

This pen looks great, I like the stainless steel industrial look. The Zebra F-701 writes so well. The ink flows smoothly, and the fine 0.8mm point tip makes all handwriting look clearer and more legible. We even like it more than extra fine tech pens, which are delicate and can start skipping if you drop them.

Zebra F-701 Knurled Grip

The pen has the right thickness for a solid but comfortable grip. The knurled tip also keeps your fingers steady and is very helpful if your hands tend to get sweaty.  

Zebra F-701 Clicking Mechanism

As someone who’s always losing pen caps, I love that the pen is retractable. The metal clicking mechanism is also very solid and needs to be firmly pushed. This prevents the pen from accidentally opening in the middle of the bag or the pocket, and those troublesome ink stains.

The stainless steel body isn’t just all style, other. From a practical perspective, it’s easier to sanitize than plastic, and it’s corrosion-resistant. Since I spray almost everything with alcohol now because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this is definitely a big and healthy plus.

The refills are easy to get. Aside from the official Zebra refills, the pen is also compatible with Fisher Space Pen refills.

What We Don’t Like About Zebra F-701

The Zebra F-701 doesn’t have that many flaws at all. If any, it’s a matter of preference. The pen is very thick. It might be too thick to easily to slip into a checkbook or notebook rings and it might feel too large for someone who’s used to thinner pens or tapered tips like the Parker.

The ink is great and rarely blots, but it can’t write on all surfaces, and it may skip if you try writing on the wall or other unusual angles. If you want to be able to write on any kind of paper, surface, condition, and angle, we recommend you get a Fisher Space pen with pressurized ink.

Zebra F-701 Pros and Cons

High-quality pen for its priceCan’t write at some angles
Smooth ink flowSlightly thicker than other pens  
Durable clicking mechanism
Comfortable, ergonomic grip
Zebra F-701 Package

What’s included?

  • 1 stainless steel pen
  • 1 all-metal refill (inside the pen)

The items are well packed to protect them during shipping. We wish they included an extra refill, even if it meant increasing the price. It saves the trouble (and shipping cost) of having to reorder when the ink’s running low.

Zebra F-701 Technical specifications

Pen TypeBallpoint
Weight1.12 ounces
Dimensions‎1 x 3.3 x 8 inches
MaterialStainless steel
Point sizeFine (line thickness of 0.8 mm)
Ink colorBlack, (blue and Red refills available)
FeaturesKnurled Metal Grip
RefillsZebra Pen F-Refills

Final breakdown

The Zebra Zebra F-701 has our vote as one of the best refillable ballpoint pens on the market. Its sturdy metal construction and high-quality ink won’t disappoint even the pickiest pen snobs. The sleek design also appeals to professionals who want a “pen that looks like it means business” but isn’t ready to splurge on a monogrammed executive pen.

You can purchase the Zebra F-701 from Amazon here.

Zebra® F-701 Stainless Steel Retractable Ballpoint Pen, Fine Point, 0.7 mm, Silver Barrel, Black Ink
  • Entirely metal from tip to clip, including the refill. Knurled barrel for secure writing, even with gloves.

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