A comparative study of electron field emission (FE) property of pristine mutiwalled carbon nanotubes (p-CNTs), zinc (Zn) coated CNTs (Zn-CNT), zinc oxide (ZnO) coated CNTs (ZnO-CNT) is reported. CNTs were synthesized on p-type Si (100) by microwave plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (MPECVD) method and the sample was divided into three parts. On two of these parts, a thin layer (~ 4nm) of Zn film was deposited. One of these (Zn-CNT) was kept for analysis and the other one was annealed in oxygen (O2) atmosphere at 520° C for 60 minutes to get ZnO coated CNT film (ZnO-CNT). Scanning electron microscope (SEM) analysis confirmed CNT formation as well as Zn and ZnO coating on the top of p-CNT films. Further, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) results confirmed the presence of zinc and oxygen in these two samples. A detailed field emission study performed in these films give following results: (i) lowest turn-on field (electric field required to produce 10 μA/cm 2 current density) and threshold fields (electric field required to produce 100 μA/cm 2 current density) for pristine sample (3.3 V/μm and 5.1 V/μm respectively), followed by ZnO-CNT sample (3.7 V/μm and 6.3 V/μm respectively); (ii) highest temporal stability in current density versus field (J-E characteristics) in ZnO-CNT film as compared to other two, (iii) highest field enhancement factor in ZnO-CNT films as compared to other two. The FE results are correlated with microstructures of the samples as revealed by micro-Raman spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) studies.