Although cancerous cells and normal cells are known to have different elasticity values, there have been inconsistent reports in terms of the actual and relative values for these two cell types depending on the experimental conditions. This paper investigated the mechanical characterization of normal hepatocytes (THLE-2) and hepatocellular carcinoma cells (HepG2) using atomic force microscopy indentation experiments and the Hertz-Sneddon model, and the results were confirmed by an independent de-adhesion assay. To improve the reliability of the data, we considered the effects of tip geometry and indentation depth on the measured elasticity of the cells. This study demonstrated that THLE-2 cells had a higher elastic modulus compared with the HepG2 cells and that this difference was more significant when a conical tip was used. The inhibitor study indicated that this difference in the mechanical properties of THLE-2 and HepG2 cells was mainly attributed to differential arrangements in the cytoskeletal networks of actin filaments. An independent de-adhesion assay also confirmed that THLE-2 cells had a higher elastic modulus compared with the HepG2 cells, which resulted in a shorter time constant for cellular contractility.