There are 5 levles of recitation:
1) التحقيق at-tahqeeq- reading in a slow paced manner, with tranquility, for the purpose of teaching
2) الترتيل – At- Tarteel, reading in slow paced manner, with tranquility and ease but not for the purpose of teaching, yet still pondering on the meanings, and paying attention to the rules of tajweed
3) الحدر Al-hadr is reciting in a fast manner yet following all the rules.
4) التدوير –Tadweer, reading in a balanced manner between hadr and the slow paced recitation, yet still reading with rules. Ibn Al-Jazari said: This is the recitation of most of the recitors. So it is between (h)7adr and tarteel.
5) زمزمة The last level is Zamzama: Reading in a low fast manner (to yourself). Example is, when you’re reading in salah, or to yourself. This is the opposite of at-ta7qeeq.
Which Recitation is the best?
Ibn-Mas3ood (RA) and Ibn Abbas(RA) and others said if you read slow and in small portions of the quran you get more reward! So you get to ponder while not over-burning your self by reciting too much.
Al-Shafi’i’s position is different, he says read fast to gain maximum reward and he used the hadith of “Alif lam meem”, narrated by ibn Mas’ood as evidence (The Messenger of Allaah said: “Whoever reads one letter from the Book of Allaah will earn one good (hasanah) thereby. One good deed is equal to ten good deeds the like of it. I do not say that Alif-Lam-Mim is a letter, but Alif is a letter, Laam is a letter and Meem is a letter.’). May Allah (swt) reward our scholars abundantly, and able us to follow in their footsteps, amen.
Zaid ibn Thabit recorded that the Prophet said: Allah loves for the Qur’an to be recited the way it was revealed. Which one is that? Tajweed is a balance between carelessness and too much effort. Therefore, the best is tarteel. Ya’la ibn Malik asked Umm Salamah (RA) about the Prophet’s recitation: she said each letter he read was very clear (he gave each letter its due right!).
But in all the levels, the rules of the Tajweed are to be followed, and the right of the letter is not taken away.
SIDE NOTE: One of the scholars of the Quran said, when you recite Quran, you’re actually interacting with the Quran. When you know the meaning of the Quran you’ll recite the way you feel (about the ayaat). So on the ayaat on jannah they (the recitors) cry, or when the ayaat are talking about Allah (SWT) the recitors will raise their voices because it is talking about Allah (to let everyone know about Allah). So you’ll read differently depending upon what you’re reading. *Read the Quran, as if It is talking to YOU (more on it later posts insha’Allah).
Sources: The above notes are taken from an online halaqah on tajweed (which started recently), and the teacher is using the book “بعض المفيد في علم التجويد“, and few websites.