My experience has been this...
If you stay stock, backing up is a hassle, but you get updates and if things go bad, you just do a factory refresh and start over.
If you only root, you can get updates, however, it is easy to mess up the system, and you can't simply just install a fresh rom.
If you root and put a recovery, you can't get updates, but you can easily re-flash a rom when things go wrong.
I have used all 3, and personally, I really felt unsafe using root but no recovery. In fact it was while doing this that I had the hardest time fixing any issues. Staying completely stock is attractive, but there is sooo many flakey advertisements that ruin the experience that I really dislike not having root so I can run adblock and on phones. If I'm going to root, I would rather just go all out.