I think it totally depends on the individual. For example, if you want to make property your 'career' and actually enjoy being involved in all aspects of property investing (such as managing a refurbishment ready for tenants) then 'hands on' is probably for you. But if you've already got a full time career in a different field and are simply looking to property as a way of building additional income, then 'hands off' (to some degree at least) is probably best.
I think it depends how much free time you have in your life, how well you manage stress and how much control you want over an investment.
My experience of being 'hands on' is great... until you get problem tenants and then the hassle factor goes through the roof! But if you're lucky enough to get a reliable and respectful tenant, it's great.
It's also handy if you're a tradesman (or a least a bit handy!) to be able to do minor repairs yourself, which saves costs.