The -e option is used to edit the current crontab using the
editor specified by the VISUAL or EDITOR environment variables.
After you exit from the editor, the modified crontab will be
installed automatically. If neither of the environment variables
is defined, then the default editor /usr/bin/editor is used.
So the -e
option simply opens up the current user's crontab file in whatever default editor is set in your shell. Also, while not mentioned above, it checks the syntax before installing the changes, making it safer to use than editing the file raw.
Other than that, yes, you can do it either way.