Bits, but I think it depends on the rider and horse.
Flower hackamore is very soft
Hackamores can cause as much damage as a bit, just on a different part of the face. They have been known to cause poll and nose damage, usually by the same people who are critical of bits and think bitless can't be harmful (and therefore aren't careful). Being aware of the pros and cons of everything you do with your horse, and being in tune enough to know when your horse is uncomfortable or happy is the right way to do things. There is not one single thing that would suit every horse.
I am neither for nor against hackamores and bitless, I am neither for nor against most bits (some are just ridiculous though). I am for matching the tack to the horse and rider. I am against being blindly stuck to one piece of equipment, regardless of what your horse is telling you.
It's important to match the bit, or lack of, to the horse. It's just as important to match it to the rider. I know a pony who preferred a waterford bit. She didn't like a solid bit, and went better when she had more to play with. However, if her rider was inexperienced, or had harsh hands, then a waterford bit would be a no-go because it would be too severe.
glad to hear this! some people are very critical to bits and i wanted to make sure i wasn’t doing anything wrong
Whatever suits the horse and rider best. I usually begin with a snaffle though, until the horse lets me know they need something different.
definitely bits for me, but I think that it is everybody personal choice