The world number three specialises in grinding his opponents down with his baseline hustling and that is exactly what happened in his encounter with Mannarino, who made 73 unforced errors over the four sets.
Mannarino looked to be struggling in temperatures in excess of 37 degree Celsius (99 Fahrenheit) during the last two sets on Hisense Arena and Ferrer finished him off in shade over three hours with a forehand winner after a 24-shot rally.
"It's tough to play in these conditions, I tried to fight when I lost the second set because it was a bad moment in my tennis," Ferrer said.
"I'm happy because the last two sets I played good. I want to enjoy this moment and then tomorrow I will be focused on my next opponent."
That opponent will be another Frenchman in Jeremy Chardy, after he beat the unpredictable Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov in a section of the draw that was weakened by the defeat of 14th seed Mikhail Youzhny at the hands of Florian Mayer.
Ferrer is third seed at Melbourne Park, after Briton Andy Murray missed the back end of last season, but has rarely been mentioned as a contender despite having twice reached the semi-finals at the year's first Grand Slam in the last three years.
The Czech seventh seed won 6-4 6-1 6-3 to progress into a meeting Damir Dzumhur, who booked his place in the next round after 32nd seed Ivan Dodig retired injured with the score in their match at 4-6 4-6 6-3 4-1.
As temperatures topped 40 degrees for a second day running, ninth seeded Richard Gasquet joined Ferrer and Berdych in victory, the Frenchman beating veteran Nikolay Davydenko 7-6(3) 6-4 6-4.
Stanislas Wawrinka made hard work of getting past Alejandro Falla in a late-finishing contest on Margaret Court Arena, the Swiss prevailing 6-3 6-3 6-7(4) 6-4 in one of the matches of the day.
Both players produced some entertaining tennis but in the end the eighth seed's more incisive groundstrokes proved the difference and he progressed to a meeting with either local hope Matthew Ebden or Vasek Pospisil.
Second round results
2-Novak Djokovic (Serbia) beat Leonardo Mayer (Argentina) 6-0 6-4 6-4
3-David Ferrer (Spain) beat Adrian Mannarino (France) 7-6(2) 5-7 6-0 6-3
7-Tomas Berdych (Czech Republic) beat Kenny De Schepper (France) 6-4 6-1 6-3
8-Stanislas Wawrinka (Switzerland) beat Alejandro Falla (Colombia) 6-3 6-3 6-7(4) 6-4
9-Richard Gasquet (France) beat Nikolay Davydenko (Russia) 7-6(3) 6-4 6-4
Florian Mayer (Germany) beat 14-Mikhail Youzhny (Russia) 6-4 3-6 6-3 3-6 6-3
15-Fabio Fognini (Italy) beat Jarkko Nieminen (Finland) 7-5 6-4 3-6 6-2
17-Tommy Robredo (Spain) beat Julien Benneteau (France) 6-3 6-7(4) 6-1 7-6(6)
19-Kevin Anderson (South Africa) beat Dominic Thiem (Austria) 6-4 6-3 6-4
20-Jerzy Janowicz (Poland) beat Pablo Andujar (Spain) 4-6 7-6(3) 7-6(5) 6-3
28-Vasek Pospisil (Canada) beat Matthew Ebden (Australia) 3-6 7-6(6) 7-6(9) 6-1
29-Jeremy Chardy (France) beat Alexandr Dolgopolov (Ukraine) 7-5 7-6(5) 6-7(3) 7-6(5)
Denis Istomin (Uzbekistan) beat 30-Dmitry Tursunov (Russia) 7-6(3) 4-6 6-1 6-4
Damir Dzumhur (Bosnia and Herzegovina) beat 32-Ivan Dodig (Croatia) 4-6 4-6 6-3 4-1 (Dodig retired)
Edouard Roger-Vasselin (France) beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (Spain) 7-6(1) 6-4 4-6 6-1