Dispersion and interfacial strain transfer of single walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) are two major challenges for the utilization of SWNTs as reinforcements in polymer composites. Surface modifications could help change the dispersion and interfacial properties. In this study, nanocomposites were fabricated by solution blending 1 wt % SWNTs with various modification (nonmodified, nitric acid functionalized, and amine functionalized SWNTs) and three kinds of polymeric materials (polycarbonate, polyvinylidene fluoride, and epoxy). Chemical compatibilities between SWNTs and solvents or polymers are calculated by the Hansen solubility parameters (HSP) method. The dispersion of the SWNTs in solvents is evaluated by dynamic light scattering. The dispersion of SWNTs in polymers evaluated by a light optical microscope (LOM) generally agrees with the HSP prediction. The strain transfer from the matrix to SWNTs is mainly related to the dispersion, the bundle size, the residual thermal stresses on the sample, and, to lesser degree, the HSP.