Reference evapotranspiration (ETo) is one of the most important factors in the hydrologic cycle and water balance studies. In this study, the performance of three simple and three wavelet hybrid models were compared to estimate ETo in three different climates in Iran, based on different combinations of input variables. It was found that the wavelet-artificial neural network was the best model, and multiple linear regression (MLR) was the worst model in most cases, although the performance of the models was related to the climate and the input variables used for modeling. Overall, it was found that all models had good accuracy in terms of estimating daily ETo. Also, it was found in this study that large numbers of decomposition levels via the wavelet transform had noticeable negative effects on the performance of the wavelet-based models, especially for the wavelet-adaptive network-based fuzzy inference system and wavelet-MLR, but in contrast, the type of db wavelet function did not have a detectable effect on the performance of the wavelet-based models.