Playing in temperatures of 42 degrees Celsius (108 Fahrenheit) on Rod Laver Arena, Ferrer's trademark brand of attritional tennis simply wore down the Frenchman, who made 51 unforced errors, in two hours and 12 minutes.
The 31-year-old Spaniard, twice a semi-finalist at Melbourne Park, took his frustrations on his racket in the second set but saved two set points to win it in the tiebreak.
He reached the fourth round for the fourth year in a row when he broke Chardy's serve for the fifth time and next meets German Florian Mayer, who earlier upset Pole Jerzy Janowicz 7-5 6-2 6-2 to become the first man to reach the fourth round.
"I won in three sets, so it's good," said the 31-year-old, a semi-finalist at Melbourne Park for two of the last three years.
"I know today maybe was the last day with this heat, with these conditions, and it's good for your body, because is very difficult to play with these conditions.
"Maybe it was my best match this week."
Seventh seed Tomas Berdych silenced a boisterous crowd on Hisense Arena as the Czech comfortably advanced to the fourth round of the Australian Open with a 6-4 6-2 6-2 victory over Bosnia's Damir Dzumhur on Friday.
The 21-year-old Dzumhur has enjoyed vocal support from Melbourne's large expatriate Balkan population in his progress throughout the tournament from qualifying.
Dzumuhur beat Croatia's Ivan Dodig in the second round in a noisy encounter on Wednesday and had been seeking to be the first qualifier to reach the fourth round at the Australian Open since Canada's Milos Raonic in 2011.
Berdych, however, was simply too strong for the youngster and gave him nothing to capitalise on, ruthlessly snuffing out his two break point opportunities to advance to a fourth round against either South Africa's Kevin Anderson or Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France.
Men's singles round 3 results
3-David Ferrer (Spain) beat 29-Jeremy Chardy (France) 6-2 7-6(5) 6-2
7-Tomas Berdych (Czech Republic) beat Damir Dzumhur (Bosnia and Herzegovina) 6-4 6-2 6-2
8-Stanislas Wawrinka (Switzerland) beat 28-Vasek Pospisil (Canada)WO
15-Fabio Fognini (Italy) beat Sam Querrey (U.S.) 7-5 6-4 6-4
17-Tommy Robredo (Spain) beat 9-Richard Gasquet (France) 2-6 7-5 6-4 7-6(6)
19-Kevin Anderson (South Africa) beat Edouard Roger-Vasselin (France) 3-6 4-6 6-3 7-6(5) 7-5
Florian Mayer (Germany) beat 20-Jerzy Janowicz (Poland) 7-5 6-2 6-2