Everyone swears by squats. They're one of those exercises that are considered as one of the exercise you MUST DO. I hate them. I don't like doing squats at all, and I don't blame you if you want to give up on them completely. IMO, they're bad for your knees and your back. I know, I know, it's all about form. But think about it: If the only safe and proper way to do an exercise and get benefits from it, is with "perfect form," what's the purpose? Research "spinal compression." Whether it's moving furniture or running a 100 meter dash, I can hold my own without doing squats.
If bodybuilding is what you're in to, I say leg presses are the way to go. If you're after functional fitness, bodyweight squats and sprinting are where it;s at. I know barbell squats do a lot more than strengthen your quads. I know they also strengthen your core, glutes, hamstrings, and so on... but there are plenty of other ways to train those muscle groups without all the risks that come with barbell squats.
Oh Jesus not this 'squats are bad for you' stuff again.
If you're so worried about spinal compression you can still squat using hip belt squats. Also, leg press is just as risky from a spinal health point of view due the rounding that almost inevitably takes place when you go heavy.