In this paper, a method for the effective modeling of helically stranded cables for which multiple beam finite elements (FE) are used is presented, and a design procedure for the torque balance of the cables using the beam FE model is proposed. Regarding the beam modeling, the wire-to-wire contacts and the elastoplastic material behavior are considered. The proposed beam model is advantageous because the accuracy of the corresponding numerical results is as good as that of the full solid FE model, while the computational cost is significantly reduced. Using the beam FE model, the mechanical behavior of helically stranded cables is analyzed under axial and transverse loadings. The numerical results are compared with those of full solid FE models and available experimental results, where accuracy and computational cost are investigated. This paper also proposes a practical procedure for torque balance design of helically stranded cables using the proposed beam FE model. (C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.