As suggested in the comments by someone, the different uses of this form is explained in detail in this post:
As for the difference between the two connections:
To summarize, some people suggest that the main difference is that て implies temporal order while the stem doesn't. This doesn't seem to be entirely true, according to this study:
"Through the use of TE-linkage, the speaker presents the two
situations as being related in some principled way - e.g. causation,
intention of a single individual, or reason for an action - so that
the presented situations are viewed as NONINCIDENTAL.".
In the end, it seems the main difference between the two ways to link is simply a matter of formality. As described by someone else in the third link: "The conjunctive form (aka pre-ます form) sounds more dry/learned/erudite/scholarly/formal."