Keeping the above notes in mind, I have narrowed my search down to three HTML Editors (also called WYSIWYG editors) and three Text Editors. There are many different editors to choose from, and several that I didn't list here. You should make your own choice based on the needs that you have.
WYSIWYG HTML Editors
Price: $399.00 USD
Here is a great HTML editor. It has lots of features and great extensions. There is a lot more here than a beginner would really be able to handle, but an advanced Web designer could really sit down and play with this program.
Drawbacks: It is a very complicated program with lots of features and things to learn. It also takes up a lot of system memory, which slows things down. Finally, the price is fairly high for a low-end user.
Price: $199.00 USD
This HTML editor is easy to use and plays upon the common features of most Microsoft programs, so it is easy to figure out. The graphical representations of your site makes it easy to see how your site is progressing and maintain various parts of it.
Drawbacks: The biggest drawback to FrontPage is one that isn't often noticed. It can create very strange HTML that is only really reliable within the Microsoft browser. Also, if you decide to use the extensions that give more features to the product, you are limited to servers that will support those codes.
Price: $399.00 USD
GoLive is a full-featured WYSIWYG HTML editor. One of the nicest aspects of this editor is that it has really great integration with Photoshop and Illustrator. If you use either or both of these products, then using GoLive makes a lot of sense.
Drawbacks: Like Dreamweaver, there are a lot of features and things to learn, which can make the learning curve quite steep.
Price: $99 USD
Technically, this is not really a text editor, but a very fancy HTML text editor. It has all the features of a good text editor plus extras like HTML validation, link checking, document weight, project management, and HTML help with tag tips and tag completion. You see the HTML you write, with a lot of good assistance to make sure it's high quality.
Drawbacks: Like all text editors, you need to know HTML to use this program. However, it makes it easy for you to learn, so that isn't so bad. It doesn't have a lot of the automated tools that Dreamweaver has, you have to do it all yourself.
Price: Included on Windows machines
This is the text editor that many current Webmasters used to learn HTML. It is easy to use (the hardest thing about writing HTML in it is getting it to save the files as .HTM rather than .TXT). It comes standard with Windows operating systems, so you know you'll find it if you borrow a friends machine.
Drawbacks: It doesn't have any special HTML features. It is first and foremost a text editor. There isn't even a spell checker.
Price: Included on most Unix platforms
Vi is a very powerful text editor. It allows you to make global changes to your files with (relative) ease, it has a lot of features, and you can get macros and tags to help do HTML with it.
Drawbacks: The primary drawback is that vi is very hard to learn. While it comes for other platforms than Unix (I have it for my Windows 95 machine at home), it is most commonly found on Unix. Also, like Notepad, vi is first and foremost a text editor that people have added features to to help it write HTML.
Well, really, I think that it is important that you decide for yourself which editor best fits your needs. Another site that has done an excellent job of reviewing many editors is Carl Davis's HTML Editor Reviews.
Okay, if you really want to know what I recommend, I would have to go with HomeSite. It is the most flexible editor I've seen, and it doesn't add any extraneous tags or strange HTML. I can write whatever I want in HomeSite, and the macros and tag snippets help me to create my pages quickly. My second choice is Dreamweaver, as it has HomeSite built in. It would be first, but it's fairly expensive, and I found the WYSIWYG portion of the editor fairly hard to use. I also didn't like how much memory it takes up.