It isn't necessarily right or wrong to go with liquid or air in your PC build, but there are many factors to consider when you choose between the two. Some of the best air coolers are similarly priced to closed-loop liquid alternatives. There are certain scenarios, such as overclocking, where you might feel a liquid cooling solution will offer the best performance.

If it is a quality liquid cooler you seek, check out these great choices.

Corsair H110i

Corsair all-in-one looped water coolers are great options for people moving from air cooling to some form of liquid. The H110i unlocks great performance and allows for some degree of overclocking, though you'll still need to ensure your case and other cooling components are up to the task.

From PC Gamer:

Corsair's H110 is celebrated for its ability to pull heat away from high-end processors with a copper base plate.

Should you be looking to use liquid cooling but don't wish to risk custom loops, the H110i is a superb place to start. The fans included with the cooler can be a little loud, though, especially if you unlock increased CPU performance. That's something to bear in mind if you're pushing it, but you'll get great performance nevertheless. You should be able to find one for around $125.

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NZXT Kraken X61

Kraken X61

This one could win out on the name alone, but it also does pretty darn well when it comes to performance. The X61 packs not only a 280mm radiator, but it does so without weighing much at all.

From Tom's Hardware:

Best performance and safer portability (little weight on motherboard) make this the best choice for anyone who can afford and install it.

Throw in included support for the NZXT Hue lighting system and its CAM software for digital fan control and what you have is a cooler that will perform well and look good in your custom PC. All for a reasonable price of around $120.

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Thermaltake Water 2.0 Extreme

If pushing your system is high on the agenda, which is likely if you're considering liquid at all, then this cooler from Thermaltake will take good care of you.

From Techradar:

It's built to last, is a great performer and it's even better with that USB interface and control software. In short, it's a proper bit of kit.

The low profile pump is paired with a 240mm radiator, and it promises to decrease the loss of coolant more effectively over time than others. The copper baseplate will also make sure the heat transfer is accelerated away from the CPU.

It's also tremendous value, coming in under $100, which also makes it the lowest priced option here.

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Swiftech H220-x

It's perhaps not a brand you're familiar, with but this cooler from Swiftech is highly regarded for overclockers and more casual PC gamers alike. It's a bit pricey at around $140, but it's worth the investment.

From Lifehacker:

The entire setup is designed to be whisper-quiet, near inaudible for most people, and keep your processor nice and cool whether you just want a nice silent PC, or you plan to overclock and run that processor like crazy.

It isn't the most compact solution around, but the LED backlit reservoir shows you the coolant level, in addition to just sitting there looking awesome. It's also easy to add to, being fairly straightforward to integrate into a more complex liquid cooling setup down the line.

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