There is no "best" distribution. They all excel at different things when used by someone who knows how to arrive at point B from point A.
About the easiest to install and use are SuSE and Mandrake. Mandrake are in financial trouble at the moment, but the userbase is huge so you will always be able to get help online.
Red Hat and Caldera are a mainstay in a business environment, but I'd stick with SuSE or Mandrake to begin with.
SuSE especially has a superb install routine with excellent hardware support and documentation. It also happens to be my personal favourite, so yes, I am prejudice.
Ask 100 Linux geeks and get about as many different answers !