There isn't a "better" solution. It depends entirely on yr workflow.
I use bridge cos its closely integrated with PS, and it serves as a host for camera raw which is what I use to process my raw files. I like the fact that it shows updated previews of adjusted raw files without having to convert it to another format, so its much easier to see which images have potential without having to "imagine" what a shot could look like. Other programs tend to show you the embedded jpeg file in the preview, unlike bridge which generates its own previews.
Also, I use xmp files instead of a central cache to store conversion settings, so bridge helps keep the link with the original raw files, regardless of whether i rename the file or move it elsewhere. If I did this outside of bridge I'd have to keep track of the xmp files myself.