I have only used live in hand cover. Good experience with it, mare took with just one covering. All came down to luck that we had everything timed.
The stallion happened to be in the area that weekend, I was at uni, my parents got a phone call asking where my mare was and that the stallion was down at the roping arena, so my parents (who aren't hugely horsey, can do the basics and have been looking after my mare since I went to uni and did during the pregnancy too) loaded her up took her down, served her and they were back home within and hour and a half.
Mare doesn't come back into heat and pregnancy progresses as normal.
I do really understand how lucky we got in regards to the timing.