The plasma-induced emission properties of ZnO nanorod and carbon nanotube (CNT) arrays were investigated under the pulse electric field. The formation of plasma on the array surface was found and high intensity electron beams were obtained from the two kinds of arrays. The plasma-induced emission properties of the ZnO nanorod and CNT arrays have big differences. Under the same electric field, the CNT arrays have higher emission current than the ZnO nanorod arrays. With the emission currents changing, the electron emissions of the ZnO nanorod arrays always are very uniform; but that of the CNT arrays are non-uniform. The plasma expansion velocity of the ZnO nanorod arrays is lower than that of the CNT arrays. Accordingly, the emission stability of the ZnO nanorod arrays is better than that of the CNT arrays.