There is a lot of confusion and bad information going around about Tor and Tails. This article should clear the confusion and answer the question.
First of all, lets start with some definitions. Tor is a network, or rather an encrypted network of multiple networks and servers which allows its users to disguise their identities and movements. Tor was created by the US Navy as a method of protecting the identity of their internet traffic. It’s named after the original network architecture by the creators of the original protocol.
Tails is used as a USB. It’s a Linux distro (based on Debian) with pre-configured settings to setup a anonymous and encrypted connection. It is constantly updated and runs Debian stable. All files, passwords, cookies and DNS requests are encrypted with a user defined password. This eliminates the risk of having your internet history or identifying information stolen. It also allows you to browse the internet anonymously through an exit node (a router that allows data to leave the Tor network) that Google, Facebook and other sites do not have access to.
Tails is a distribution that can be used to access the internet in an anonymous fashion. However, in order to do so, you have to download all the programs as an exe file. This is required to set up a Tails specific interface. Additionally, when downloading files, this information is recorded and stored in locations that Tor users do not have access to.
Tor is the service running in the background and using Tails allows you to access its features.
The Tor Browser Bundle, or TBB, is a standalone browser which is quick and easy to setup and use. It uses the Tor network to provide anonymity for users. The bundle contains all of the needed programs to allow a user to use the Tor network.
The Tor Browser includes features such as HTTPS connections, file downloads, HTTPS secured sites and the ability to connect to local WiFi hotspots.
Advantages of TBB
Ease of use
The TBB is quite easy to use, set up and works well. It has been designed to be used by non-technical users.
Built with security in mind
Security is a huge part of the TBB. It checks your connection for open ports, encryption security, web browser encryption, key management and the up to dateness of the browser itself.
The TBB provides users with an encrypted area for saving files. It is encrypted with the user defined password, so no one else can see the contents.
Security when using Tor
Tor does not provide true anonymity because you’re still relying on your OS, like Windows, to use the browser. Due to the nature of Tor, certain information will still be recorded and users are still traceable. However, this can be rectified by using a VPN.
Advantages of Tails
Tails setup is a breeze. It is only required that you have a USB flash drive of at least 8GB capacity, up to date Windows or Linux computer and a command prompt. Simply download the files to the USB drive, run setup and follow the prompts. After this has been done, boot up your computer, insert the USB drive and boot up the Tails desktop.
Easy of use
Tails has very straight forward features and is easy to use. There is no need for technical knowledge.
Works on all operating systems
Tails currently supports all major operating systems.
Tails provides complete privacy. No data recorded (like websites visited) is seen by anyone else other than the person running Tails.
Advantages of using Tor over Tails
Tor provides you with quicker speeds when you are surfing the internet. This is because it routes your traffic through nodes which statistically have faster connections than your average internet connection.
The Tor network provides you anonymity.
Disadvantages of Tor
Both Tor and Tails are free.
Lack of support
Some support is provided for Tor products, but a large amount of support is done via forums. This may end up being frustrating.