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I understand that they both pre-process to give surface reflectance, but other than that I do not understand the difference.

Can anyone please explain it to me?

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ARD is essentially a new processing level that incorporates the TOA/SR processing of Level-2, but incorporates a new Grid-Tile data format (as opposed to WRS-2 Path-Row). It also supports fetching a stack of data for a location for time-series analysis.

U.S. Landsat ARD products are generated in the Albers Equal Area (AEA) Conic map projection, processed directly from Landsat Level-1 AEA scenes through Landsat Level-2 data products using the WGS84 datum

References:

  • please update the links – Martan Mar 18 at 13:11

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