I played Non Ladder because I don't have the time to commit to Ladder. I prefer Ladder though because you can "cube" runes and upgrade exceptional unique armor (and weapons). There are some cheap runewords there too which are good to make as EvraeAltana mentioned.
The odds that someone will keep a good non high end item on ladder is far bigger than on nonladder and therefore low trades are more common on ladder. This will help you starting off. I agree to all who posted here before