I'm a fan of pelhams when they are used correctly. When I did equitation, I hated seeing riders use the pelham as a crutch. So long as you can use it effectively, instead of just hanging on the horses mouth, pelhams are great. They help a horse frame up - especially one with a less-than-supple body.
On the pony I ride now, I originally used a twisted snaffle. She was a freight train. So I switched to a straightbar pelhem. Still a freight train. A joined rubber pelhem helped a bit. However, when we went out foxhunting, she would just get plowing and pretty much rip my arms off. And trust me, we did our fair share of flat work.
So, then I tried a double-bar-jointed gag (i don't know what the real name for it is, but yeah. That's pretty much it.) She was a dream out foxhunting in it. Perfect, and I have pretty light hands so I wasn't cranking on her or anything. But I didn't want to have to use the gag all the time at home, because I didn't want it to lose it "edge" with her. So I would use the rubber pelham at home. Well, then the rubber pelham got chewed by her a bit, and roughed up her mouth. So I tried a loose-ring hollow mouth bit, so that I could still ride her. And miracles of miracles, that's the one she goes best in. Sometimes, less is more xP