Rooting your phone - Advantages and disadvantages

What are the primary benefits of rooting your phone?

What are it's downsides and dangers?

How difficult is it to root? Can it later be "unrooted"?

You can get rid of bloatware and reenable anything that has been turned off by your network provider.

You can brick your phone.

Depends on the model and manufacturer.

Generally, yes.

If you are confident you won't brick it, there are no other disadvantages?

Is a rooted phone at a greater security (hack or mistaken misuse) risk?

The biggest problem is that it is a lot more work to install updates. Plus you can always brick your phone especially if you have no idea what you are doing - I have yet to brick a phone though and I am not an expert by a long shot. Just follow the great guides step by step and you will be fine. It also takes time to learn and do it all.

However you can add a lot more functionality to your phone and give it a new lease of life - Custom roms, improved features etc.
For example I have a nexus 5x. By rooting I can gain image stabilization with video recording as well as improved still camera settings. I can install an app so that I can turn off vibration on the cellnuvo ads since none of the regular ways seem to have any effect. I was able to tether before cellnuvo officially turned mine on using another app that requires root access. Backup and restore becomes a lot easier and more powerful using apps like titanium backup.

Yes a rooted phone is more of a security risk but I am not worried. At the end of the day if the user doesn't do anything stupid then security is not an issue.

For me my phone cost less than $200 and if something happens I will be sad but it isn't the end of the world.

Some apps that rely on advertising have security to keep them from running on rooted phones since they assume that you're up to no good.

Pandora is or was one of those apps. Not sure if they're still doing that, though.

What are the specific greater security dangers of a rooted phone?

I've heard that another inconvenience of rooting is that Android Pay refuses to operate.