Exporting is definitely better.
Print to PDF is not recommended.
Basically - your document is very complex in terms of how it's put together in the background.
If you print to PDF you lose a lot that complex goodness that is information used by printing presses, and in Adobe reader.
Printing to a PDF file causes all sorts of complex things to be stripped to it's bare bones. Like Transparency is not retained. Instead the image is broken up into simpler pieces and stitched back together.
Printed to PDF
These are circles that are overlapped with an effect added
In acrobat - go to Tools and Edit Object
You can move the pieces independent of each other
Here's the very same file exported to PDF
Do the same thing - the circles have retained their original shape and move without any problems.
This is just a very simple example.
Along with transparency being flattened - which isn't a good thing in modern workflow - you also have no colour management.
What I really am saying is
Printed to PDF - this flattens evertyhing and gives less control.
Exported to PDF x4a - this retains everything and the RIP at prepress handles all the information.
The RIP is the best place to handle the flattening - not during output to PDF.
On behalf of Adobe, confirm that export to PDF/X-4 (there is not PDF/X-4a) is the method that yields the most reliable PDF publishing workflow, especially if you need to print or even re-purpose the content.
I always get the PDFx4:2008 and PDFx1a mixed up when typing them out
Memory is not the best.