This paper aims to understand the effect of different particle/contact properties like friction, softness and cohesion on the compression/dilation of sheared granular materials. We focus on the local volume fraction in steady state of various non-cohesive, dry cohesive and moderate to strong wet cohesive, frictionless-to-frictional soft granular materials. The results from (1) an inhomogeneous, slowly sheared split-bottom ring shear cell and (2) a homogeneous, stress-controlled simple shear box with periodic boundaries are compared. The steady state volume fractions agree between the two geometries for a wide range of particle properties. While increasing inter-particle friction systematically leads to decreasing volume fractions, the inter-particle cohesion causes two opposing effects. With increasing strength of cohesion, we report an enhancement of the effect of contact friction i.e. even smaller volume fraction. However, for soft granular materials, strong cohesion causes an increase in volume fraction due to significant attractive forces causing larger deformations, not visible for stiff particles. This behaviour is condensed into a particle friction—Bond number phase diagram, which can be used to predict non-monotonic relative sample dilation/compression.