Pd-cluster coated, engineered tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) and similarly coated single-walled carbon nanotube (SWNT) particles have been studied for hydrogen detection with the help of surface acoustic wave (SAW) resonators. SAW resonators were coated with these two different nano-structured sensing layers (Pd-TMV and Pd-SWNT) which produced differently useful hydrogen sensor responses. The Pd-TMV coated resonator responded to hydrogen with nearly constant increases in frequency as compared to the Pd-SWNT coated device, which responded with concentration-dependent decreases in frequency of greater magnitude upon hydrogen exposure. The former behavior is more associated with acousto-electric phenomena in SAW devices and the later with mass loading. The 99% response times were 30-40 seconds for the Pd-TMV sensing layer and approximately 150 seconds for the Pd-SWNT layer. Both the films showed high robustness and reversibility at room temperature.