Each is viable depending on what you're trying to do. If, for example, you're after a blade effect like the blademaster has, something to show that something is moving really quickly though the air, then normal ribbon emitters are what you're after. If you want a sort of firey, flashy effect then particle emitters are more appropriate. It's entirely situational.
Also, the particles per second doesn't help much past about 100 or so. I tried making one with something like 1000 a second to see how fast i could move it, but there was no noticable difference between 1000 and 100 or any numbers between, both in number of particles visible and in what speed it began to 'stutter'