In the predicting of geological variables, artificial neural networks (ANNs) have some drawbacks including possibility of getting trapped in local minima, over training, subjectivity in the determining of model parameters and the components of its complex structure. Recently, support vector machines (SVM) has been found to be popular in prediction studies due to its some advantages over ANNs. Because the least squares SVM (LS-SVM) provides a computational advantage over SVM by converting quadratic optimization problem into a system of linear equations, LS-SVM method is also tried in study. The main purpose of this study is to examine the capability of these two SVM algorithms for the prediction of tensile strength of rock materials and to compare its performance with ANN and linear regression (MLR) models. Total porosity, sonic velocity, slake durability index and aggregate impact value were used as input in modeling applications. Favorite performance evaluation measures were employed to assess developed models. The results determined in study indicate that the SVM, LS-SVM and ANN methods are successful tools for prediction of tensile strength variable and can give good prediction performances than MLR model. Although these three methods are powerful artificial intelligence techniques, LS-SVM makes the running time considerably faster with the higher accuracy. In terms of accuracy, the LS-SVM model resulted in error reductions relative to that of the other models. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.