Working with a Recruiter Vs Applying Independently for a Job

I recently started looking for a job and I am wondering if companies like to find people through recruiters or do they preffer not to deal with them. Would one’s position at a company be “safer” if it was a direct response? Would a recruiter screw it up with salary negotiations?
It’s just a thought…
I’d appreciate an opinion from anyone in Corporate or Consultancy environments.
Thank You!