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I will do both. Typically, however, I will stick with 4-sided patches created with boundary-surface for the important surfaces. If you are then "filling in" between those main surfaces and end up with 3, or 5, or 9 sides, a fill works just fine. Often when I want to make a well controlled 5-sided surface I will see if there is a way I can make it with an over-sized 4-sided boundary, and then trim to make it 4 sides.
Avoid creating a 3-sided face, even with loft or boundary. Only create 3-sided faces with fill.