The relation between surfactant-polymer interaction and coal wettability was determined experimentally with capillary, drop, viscosity, surface tension, and zeta potential tests. The results demonstrated that synergistic wetting enhancement occurred when anionic surfactant-polymer combinations were applied to hydrophobic coal samples. When applied to a hydrophilic sample of coal there was negligible improvement in wetting. Combinations of non-ionic surfactant with polymer also showed no wetting improvement over surfactant alone. Low-molecular-weight polymer showed similar wetting enhancements to high-molecular-weight polymer, but excessive addition of high-molecular-weight polymer resulted in wetting reduction. A model is proposed that satisfactorily explains the wetting behavior observed experimentally.