The two-time Olympic medallist came through the morning preliminary session comfortably in Gwangju and then qualified from the semi-final with a dive to spare.
The highlight was Laugher’s fourth-round dive, the hardest of the competition, for which he scored 95.55 points.
His final effort was disappointing but he still finished with 468.45 points, enough for third place behind two Chinese divers.
In the final tomorrow he will be looking for his second medal of the event having won silver alongside Dan Goodfellow in the three metre synchro, also earning Olympic qualification.
Laugher said on britishswimming.org: “Job done. It’s been a really long day of competing.
“My legs are dying and mind is going, ‘I’m hungry’, but I’ve done what I needed to do and still qualified in third place despite a huge mistake on my last dive.
“I got that Olympic spot, so I’m happy overall, but I’ve still got some things to improve on for Thursday.”
Having secured an Olympic spot by qualifying for the final on Tuesday, fellow City of Leeds diver Lois Toulson couldn’t quite replicate that kind of form today, having to settle for 303.60 and a 12th-place finish.
“Yesterday was such a massive high it was always going to be hard coming back this evening to try and do a good performance again,” said Toulson.
“There are positives to take away but I am a bit disappointed with how I dived, as everything was just a bit flat. I know I can hit those dives a bit better.”